Kristine Evans' wondrous day turned into a nightmare in a tragic flash Saturday night.
Evans, 48, had just capped a celebration at the Water Works Restaurant and Lounge in honor of Bradley Grogan, of West Hartford, Conn., her boyfriend of 14 years. The couple, four friends and a baby had celebrated Grogan's 48th birthday.
As the pair held hands while crossing Kelly Drive north of Fairmount Avenue about 10:40 p.m., they tried to hurry as it started to rain, Evans said.
Some cars slowed down, but a dark-colored Jeep Wrangler kept forging ahead, striking Grogan and throwing him into the air. He landed, lifeless, in the road, she said.
Grogan "never spoke again, he never opened his eyes again," Evans said yesterday. Police and medics arrived, and a breathing tube was inserted into Grogan.
He was pronounced dead at 6:22 p.m. Sunday at Hahnemann University Hospital. One person received both of Grogan's lungs, Evans said she was told.
"He was a love, he was a good man," she said of Grogan.
The hit-and-run driver is still at large, and investigators with the Accident Investigation Division are seeking help in catching him.
Police described the suspect as a white man in his early 20s, about 5 feet 5 inches, muscular build, and a tan complexion. He has short dark hair and was wearing a red T-shirt with a design. The Jeep would have a cracked windshield and front-end damage, police said. Its front grill could be cracked, and it may have a broken headlight.
The driver initially pulled over to the side of Kelly Drive, but soon drove off when police and medics arrived, investigators said.
Meanwhile, a pediatric nurse rushed to Grogan and yelled over to Evans, " 'What's his name?' " Evans said. After she responded, Evans said, she heard the nurse tell Grogan: " 'If you hear me, squeeze my hand.' "
The nurse then turned to Evans and shook her head to signal that Grogan didn't respond, Evans said.
Police said a physician was also on the scene helping Grogan, and they believed the he was parked behind the Jeep Wrangler. Investigators asked for the pediatric nurse and the doctor to come forward, along with anyone else who witnessed the collision. Contact AID at 215-685-3180.
The Citizens Crime Commission is administering a $3,500 reward for the arrest and conviction of the driver - $2,500 pledged by AAA Mid-Atlantic and $1,000 by the restaurant.