UPDATE: Cyclist identified in fatal hit-and-run on Mike Padgett Highway; search ongoing for driver

By: Staff Email
By: Staff Email
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News 12 First at Five / Wednesday, May 15, 2013

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- Deputies are searching this afternoon for a man accused of hitting and killing 42-year-old Dennis Skillman while he was riding his bicycle to work early Wednesday morning.

We spoke with Skillman's family and friends, who are having a hard time understanding who would do this.

His best friend Joey tells us, "He wore his bright green vest every day. He had lights on his bicycle, and if they went bad, he went and bought new ones."

But all of that safety equipment didn't matter when someone veered off of Mike Padgett Highway, hitting and killing Skillman.

"He used to live with me, and I would take him to work , and he'd argue with me about it. Say I want to ride my bicycle, bring the bike with us so I can ride it back home," Joey said.

Skillman rode his bike 16 miles to and from work every day, biking from his home in Hephzibah to his job at Precision Tune Auto Center on Gordon Highway.

"He wasn't a complainer. When he got home, he was happy to be home, when he got to work, he was happy to be at work," Joey said.

You can see skid marks on the highway where deputies say a red and white Dodge pickup swerved off the road, hit Skillman, then sped away.

"Hopefully they'll find out what happened and bring some justice to his family because his girlfriend's really hurting right now," Joey said.

Skillman's girlfriend of four years was too upset to go on camera, but she says she hopes they catch whoever is responsible.

"If you left the scene, you obviously know you did something wrong," Joey said.

Friends and family say it's hard to come to grips with the accident, since Skillman was doing everything he was supposed to by wearing a reflective vest and riding off the road.

"It's hard to say, 'Follow all the rules and nothing will happen,' because he was," Joey said.

Deputies are still searching for the vehicle involved in this hit-and-run. They say it is a white over red white Dodge Ram pickup truck , possibly a 2003 to 2005 year model.

The vehicle should have front passenger side damage and the passenger side mirror should be missing.

It was last seen traveling north on Mike Padgett Highway. If you have seen this vehicle, you are asked to call the Richmond County Sheriff's Office.

Initial report:

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- The cyclist who was hit and killed on Mike Padgett Highway Wednesday morning has been identified.

Dennis John Skillman, 42, died from injuries received during the accident and was pronounced dead at the scene near Tobacco Road.

Investigators say Skillman was riding his bicycle to work and was wearing a reflective vest when he was hit from behind around 6:30 a.m.

Skillman's body was taken to the GBI Augusta Lab for an autopsy.

Deputies are now looking for a red and white Dodge Ram pickup, possibly made between 2003 and 2005. The truck has damage to to the front passenger side and the passenger side mirror is missing. The truck was last seen on Mike Padgett Highway.

If you have any information, call the Richmond County Sheriff's office at (706) 821-1080.

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