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Man, 60, killed in hit-and-run on Westside

Family, friends say Derrick Chadwick is irreplacable

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Police are asking for the public's help in finding the driver who may have hit and killed a Jacksonville man Thursday night on the Westside.

Police said 60-year-old Derrick Chadwick, who went by Chad, was killed while crossing San Juan Avenue near Hyde Park Road about 11:30 p.m.

Officers found Chadwick lying in the grass between the sidewalk and bushes, according to a police report. Rescue arrived and said Chadwick had died at the scene and was likely hit by an unknown vehicle.

There were no witnesses at the scene and there is no suspect information, according to police. Police are not sure if alcohol was involved in the crash.

Traffic homicide detectives were investigating.

Friends and family of Chadwick said he was a wonderful man. They said he worked at Judy's Pub across the street for nearly 15 years, and employees there said they weren't just co-workers but family.

Chadwick was walking to a nearby Chevron gas station to get a pack of cigarettes for a friend when he was hit. Those who knew him said he would do anything for anybody.

His work family said they're like a puzzle that will never be put back together, and that Chadwick is now the missing piece.

"He would buy me a Christmas present every year, and he would do anything," said Sandra Yarber, Chadwick's apartment manager and friend. "He'd give you the shirt off his back. He was a very good person."

Chadwick lived at the Jammes Road Apartment Complex, where Yarber said he wasn't just a tenant but a friend of seven and a half years.

"Right after I became manager, he was the second person I rented to," Yarber said. "He was a very nice person. He would do anything for anybody and help anybody out."

Workers and customers at Judy's Pub, less than a mile from Chadwick's home, said he worked there for 15 years. The manager said he's gone through many employees, but Chadwick was irreplaceable.

Workers said when they realized how long Chadwick had been gone, they went to check on him, and what they found was devastating.

Chadwick's family at Judy's said he has a special place in their heart, and Yarber said there's no one like him.

"He was very caring," she said. "He cared about everybody. He loved everybody and liked everybody. He would do whatever he can for you."

Friends said Chadwick also worked at a nearby nursing home for 33 years, working many double shifts there and at Judy's.

Family and friends are making a plea to anyone who has information on their loved one's death, saying they can't find closure until they know what happened.

"I think it's a horrible situation, and whoever did this needs to come forward and turn themselves in," Yarber said.

There wasn't one dry eye Friday night in Judy's Pub as workers and customers learned the devastating news that the employee that everyone knew to have a golden heart had been killed.

"I love Chad to death and it's going to be hard. It's been a bad day," said Donna Hall, a bartender at Judy's Pub. "I don't even know how I can open the back bar without him, you know. He's always there for us."

"He worked around the corner here at the nursing home, 33 years. He put in 12, 14, 16 hours a day and then come appear and say, 'What can I do to help? What can I do to help anybody?'" said customer Everett Twist.

Twist said late Thursday night Chadwick was picking up a pack of cigarettes from a store across the street.

"When he wasn't back in a few minutes I went, 'Something isn't right.' I went to the store. I looked in the mirror. I scanned the store and didn't see him I came back and said, 'I can't find Chad. He's not answering the phone now,'" said Twist.

Twist said the entire pub went searching for Chadwick then a loyal customer found his shoes and then his body.

"My boss, Charlie and Jimmy, they're just devastated, everybody is," said Hall. "Our old Jimmy, my bartender, she couldn't even work today, you know."

"We were blessed to have known him. You'll never meet a man like that in your life," said Twist. "If you meet one you're lucky. You're real lucky."

Police are asking the public for help with any information that would assist in the investigation and to contact the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office or Crime Stoppers at 866-845-TIPS.