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News >  Crime/Public Safety

Sister remembers man killed in Monday hit and run, as police continue search for driver

UPDATED: Thu., Jan. 9, 2020

Michael Donahey was killed in a hit-and-run Jan. 6 near Gonzaga University. (Tonya Moreno)
Michael Donahey was killed in a hit-and-run Jan. 6 near Gonzaga University. (Tonya Moreno)

Michael Donahey was in the crosswalk at the intersection of Spokane Falls Boulevard and Hamilton Street on Monday evening when he was hit by a car and left for dead, according to his sister.

“It’s heartbreaking,” Tonya Moreno said.

Donahey was the oldest of seven children and took care of his younger siblings, including Moreno, while their mother fought leukemia during their childhood. After his mother died, Donahey struggled with addiction and became homeless, Moreno said.

“He had an addiction that got worse after our mom passed and just couldn’t kick it,” she said Thursday.

Donahey was homeless but continued to be an amazing uncle and sibling, according to Moreno.

“He was a good guy,” Moreno said. “He would bring his nieces and nephews a gift when he would come see them even though he didn’t have anything to give.”

Donahey died from an aortic rupture due to a blunt impact to the chest, according to the Spokane County Medical Examiner. His death was ruled an accident by the medical examiner, but that ruling does not determine whether a prosecutor can charge the driver with a crime.

The hit and run was reported just before 8:30 p.m. The driver fled the scene and was still at large as of Thursday morning. Police and medics performed CPR on Donahey, but he died on scene.

Witnesses reportedly saw a car fleeing the scene, and police later found a suspect vehicle abandoned about a mile away.

For Donahey’s family, his death was not only shocking but infuriating, Moreno said.

“The whole thing is tragic,” Moreno said. “Like, who just leaves a human being out there when you hit them?”

A young woman driving by shortly after the accident stopped to hold Donahey’s hand as he died, Moreno said. The woman met with Donahey’s family yesterday. Moreno said it was encouraging to know he wasn’t alone, though she also empathized with the woman who comforted her brother in his last moments.

“It’s something she’s not going to forget,” Moreno said.

After Moreno was notified of Donahey’s death by the medical examiner on Wednesday, she reached out to friends to help plan his funeral.

Those friends happened to include Rick Clark from Giving Back Packs, a nonprofit that provides backpacks full of supplies to the homeless, and his wife, Virginia Clark, an intake specialist at the Hope House shelter.

“We wanted to help in any way we could,” Rick Clark said.

Clark wrote a lengthy post on Facebook detailing his frustration at some peoples’ reaction to the hit and run, blaming the victim.

“It’s just amazing how hurtful those things are to a family that just lost their brother,” Clark said in an interview Thursday.

Clark said he has heard of multiple people who are homeless being hit by cars in recent months.

“A lot of people don’t realize that homelessness isn’t just worrying about being robbed or getting the flu while you’re out on the street. It’s worrying about getting hit by cars,” Clark said.

Clark also posted the GoFundMe link that Moreno created to help cover Donahey’s funeral costs and give him “a good send off.”

“He’s a human being, and I just felt horrible for his sisters,” Clark said. “I just don’t want him to be a statistic.”

Moreno said she hoped to focus on her brother’s giving heart, not his addiction.

“The addiction was not who he was, it was just what he did,” Moreno said. “He was a good person, and he helped a lot of people.”

Police ask anyone with information on the crash to call Crime Check at (509) 456-2233.

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