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Vietnam Vet Killed, 2nd Jacksonville Pedestrian Death

By Mike Valerio, Reporter
Published On: Aug 30 2012 10:35:26 PM CDT
Updated On: Aug 30 2012 11:39:05 PM CDT
JACKSONVILLE -

A Jacksonville veteran was the second pedestrian hit and killed on Marine Boulevard, 24 hours after a woman was struck four blocks away.

Joseph Smith, 60, was hit crossing Jacksonville's central thoroughfare Wednesday around 9:15 p.m. Family members said Smith strolled from his neighborhood to Super Fast Drive Thru, a mini-mart where the man regularly bought cigarettes.

Jacksonville Police said Smith was struck by a small white car that continued southbound on Marine Boulevard. The man's only sister is shocked her brother is gone.

"We were like twins in a way," said Rosa Kelly in an interview Thursday. "We thought the same way, and he was always here for my family. Now, we just want some closure."

Smith leaves behind eight brothers, one sister, a wife and four children. But the man's family members are not the only people affected by back-to-back tragedies on Marine Boulevard.

Tuesday around 9:30 p.m., a pick-up truck hit and killed Cynthia Griffith, 55, on the same stretch of road near Onslow Drive. The accident scene is four blocks south of Wednesday's crash.

According to an eyewitness at a nearby Waffle House, Griffith did not use a nearby cross walk. She entered the road to meet a friend waiting at the restaurant parking lot, and was struck. The driver remained at the scene, and the incident remains under investigation.

The Smith Family asks for the driver who took off to come forward.

"I know it's a bad thing for the person who did it," Kelly said. "But, try to turn yourself in, because of the family. If possible, please turn yourself in so we have some closure."

Crime Stoppers is offering a reward of up $2,500 for any information leading to an arrest in the hit-and-run. Anyone with information on the incident is asked to call Traffic Officer Michael Franzier at (910) 938-6428 or Crime Stoppers at (910) 938-3273.