Family of West Valley City fatal hit-and-run victim asks for help looking for suspect

Nov 16, 2022, 6:05 PM | Updated: Nov 23, 2022, 4:08 pm

WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah — The father of the man killed in a West Valley City hit-and-run said he wants accountability for the person who killed his son.

Joel Lewis, 39, died around 10 p.m. Monday while crossing the street at 7200 West 3245 South. Police said a car heading northbound hit him and didn’t stop. Lewis died from his injuries on the scene.

Police are still looking for the suspect and believe that person may have been driving a 1999-2006 Chevy or GMC pickup truck model. The truck would have damage to its driver’s headlight and side mirror.

Joel’s father, Robert Lewis, said he found out about his son’s death after getting a text message Monday night.

“I opened it up and read it and it was just ‘I’m so sorry,’ and I’m not sure what motivated me to go to Facebook, because I knew something was going on,” Robert recalled. “I went to Facebook and pulled Joel up, and it was ‘Rest in peace, rest in peace, rest in peace.’ That’s how I found out he was gone.”

Robert said Joel was on the phone with his mother while out on a walk when he was hit.

“He was staying with his mother at the time, and he was going for a walk,” Robert said. “That’s it. Just for a stroll. Unfortunately, that was his last one.”

Robert said he wants the public to be on the lookout for the driver.

“Whoever ran over my son went someplace, went home, maybe to a wife, maybe to a friend, I don’t know,” Robert said. “But he had to have been acting differently. There had to have been a dramatic change in the way he behaved. He’s got a problem and he knows it.”

He said people should contact West Valley City Police if they see someone acting suspiciously or if they see a car that matches the investigators’ description.

“It could mean something. It could bring this person in to be accountable and solve this and find out why he didn’t see Joel,” Robert said.

He said he’ll remember his son, who was a father to two children himself, one of them an infant, for his sensitive and sweet nature.

“Joel was a guy that somewhere picked up empathy along the way, even at a young age,” Robert said. “He always rooted for the underdog.”

Police ask anyone with information to call 801-840-4000.

A GoFundMe* page has been set up to help raise money for the family.

*KSL TV does not assure that the money deposited to the account will be applied for the benefit of the persons named as beneficiaries. If you are considering a deposit to the account, you should consult your own advisors and otherwise proceed at your own risk.

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Family of West Valley City fatal hit-and-run victim asks for help looking for suspect