Police seeking driver who may have witnessed hit-and-run crash which killed Chris Colegate (From Bournemouth Echo)
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Police seeking driver who may have witnessed hit-and-run crash which killed Chris Colegate
POLICE have released details of a BMW car they believe was in the area when the fatal hit and run crash which killed pensioner Chris Colegate took place.
Officers, who have disclosed an image of the silver BMW 3 Series, are keen to stress they believe the driver is a witness to the incident, not a suspect.
Mr Colegate, a frail pensioner who used two walking sticks to get about, was found seriously injured in the road at the junction of Darby's Lane and Heath Avenue at 7.25pm on Friday, December 13.
Whoever ran into the 69-year-old Poole-born grandfather failed to stop at the scene.
Mr Colegate, who was looking forward to celebrating his granddaughter's eighth birthday on Christmas Day, was pronounced dead at Poole Hospital shortly afterwards.
Dorset Police's renewed appeal for information comes as Mr Colegate's devastated family paid another tribute to the “generous” and “happy” grandfather.
Mr Colegate's wife Freda and daughters Tash Motton and Rachael Hayward have already pleaded for the driver to have the decency to come forward.
Speaking at a media appeal in the days immediately following her father's death, Tash said: “Now without dad, there will be unopened presents under the tree.
“The ache in our hearts will never go away.”
Sgt Stuart Pitman, of Dorset Police's Traffic Unit, believes the silver BMW was manufactured between March 1998 and February 2006.
He added: “This BMW was in the immediate area of the collision scene at the time and I am convinced the driver would have witnessed some of the incident.
“I wish to make it clear that I believe this to be a witness not a suspect.
A £1,000 Crimestoppers reward has been offered for information leading to the arrest and charge of a suspect in this case.
Police also want to speak to a pedestrian and the drivers of two other vehicles spotted in the area around the time of the collision.
Officers say a man wearing a hooded top walked passed Mr Colegate on Darby's Lane shortly before the incident.
The drivers of a Honda Civic-type car, travelling from Darby's Lane into Popes Road, and a medium-sized light-coloured family car - travelling along Heath Avenue towards Wimborne Road at speed - are urged to come forward, so police can eliminate them from the investigation.
Paying tribute, Mr Colegate's family said: “Our dad was a popular character and the nature of his illness meant he was distinctive when out and about and his frailty obvious.
“Despite his chronic disabilities he remained independent and as active as possible. He was well-known in the community for his generous nature and happy disposition. He would do anything for his family and friends.
“He loved his grandchildren to bits and would do anything for them. Every year on her birthday, he made his granddaughter a number for her playhouse to reflect her age. It is her birthday on Christmas Day. She knows there will be no number eight this year.
“So many lovely things have been said about dad since the collision and the family would like to thank those people for all their kind words.
"We would now ask that we are left alone for a period and given some time to deal with the aftermath of this terrible tragedy.”
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