The family of a man struck and killed by a vehicle in Wading River Thursday night gathered Friday to mourn their loss.
Wading River resident John W. Hyte, 52, died after being struck by a car driven by Riverhead resident Anthony Simonetti, Jr., 71, police said. According to Riverhead police, a call came in at 5:51 p.m. Thursday night about an accident that took place in Wading River at Route 25A near Little Leaf Court. A 2002 Subaru driven by Simonetti Jr. was traveling eastbound on Route 25A when he struck Hyte, a pedestrian who was in the eastbound lane, police said.
His family, reached at home on Friday, remembered Hyte through their tears.
"My brother was great," said Hyte's sister Carol. "He was a practical joker, and he had a great sense of humor. He always had a smile on his face -- and if he saw that anyone was down, he'd try to put a smile on their face, too."
Remembering Hyte, his sister said, "He had to be the most giving person. He'd give you the shirt off his back. If you ever needed help, he would be right there for you."
Hyte, his sister said, served in the Air Force for four years and had held a number of jobs; he also had his own handyman business and was adept at building things.
Unmarried, Hyte lived a few doors down the street from Carol with their mother Phyllis, Carol said. Hyte also left behind two other sisters, Debbie and Trish.
On the night he died, Hyte was crossing the street to "come back home" when he was struck, Carol said, her voice heavy with tears. "This is so hard."
Hyte sustained serious injuries and was transported to Peconic Bay Medical Center for treatment, at which time he was pronounced dead.
Police said no arrests were made.
The investigation is ongoing. Police ask that any witnesses to the accident call the Riverhead Town Police Department detective division, 631-727-4500 ext. 326.