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'Nothing we could do': Neighbor tried to save man killed in Johnston County hit-and-run

A pedestrian was killed in Johnston County on Thursday night in a hit-and-run crash, the State Highway Patrol said.

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ZEBULON, N.C. — A 48-year-old man died after being hit by a vehicle Thursday night in Johnston County. Authorities are searching for the suspect who fled the scene.

The State Highway Patrol said Rigoberto Valencia Talavera was struck in his front yard around 8 p.m.

He had just left a nearby convenience store on Earpsboro Road, about 100 yards east of NC Highway 39.

A neighbor, named Mike, was driving home from work and saw Valencia Talavera on the ground and another person trying to help.

The two called 911 and performed CPR for at least 10 minutes, Mike said.

“I didn’t want to quit. I didn’t want to give up,” he said. “If it was me on the ground, I’d like someone to help me. I just did what I could.”

It was too late.

“Very sad, nothing we could do,” Mike said. “They said he was gone when they got here.”

“My brother was in an accident two years ago,” he added. “That’s why it’s close to me. He made it with severe injuries, but I just tried to help because it meant so much to me. I hate to see that.”

Valencia Talavera’s wife saw the driver of the vehicle pull over, saw a person was hit and then drove off, Mike said.

Troopers said they are looking for an older model, silver passenger car with significant damage to the left front-quarter panel last seen heading north on Highway 39 toward Wake County.

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call authorities.


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