Man killed in Mandarin hit-and-run 'didn't deserve this,' friend says

Loved ones form memorial on Ricky Drive where Ryan McKeller was found dead

By Erik Avanier - Reporter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - As Jacksonville police investigate a hit-and-run in Mandarin that left a 24-year-old man dead, friends and family have begun preparing his funeral. 

Traffic homicide investigators believe Ryan McKeller was hit and killed by a car just before 4 a.m. Sunday on Ricky Drive. According to the police report, his body was found under his parked SUV.

One of McKeller's friends, who flew into town after learning about his death, has since formed a memorial at the site of the crash. 

"(He) did so (much) good for so many people," Amanda Elsen said Tuesday as she stood over the memorial, crying.

Elsen returned to her hometown of Jacksonville from Kansas to visit the site where one of her closest friends was killed.

"It's not fair," she said, hugging another friend for support.

Elsen told News4Jax that McKeller was enjoying his life, saying he had recently bought an SUV and gotten a new job. She said he was saving money to improve his financial security.

But most of all, Elsen said, he was a true friend.

“He was the reason why I’m here today," she said. "He helped me through everything that he possibly ever could. Everybody goes through their ups and downs, but he was doing really good in life and didn’t deserve this.”

Early Sunday morning, police discovered McKeller’s body partially under his parked SUV on Ricky Drive. Investigators said it appears McKeller was outside his truck and was hit by an oncoming vehicle that threw his body under his SUV.

Elsen had a message for the driver who didn't stop.

"Own up to your mistakes. Everybody makes them, but you shouldn't have left the scene," she said. "If that were you, and your family had to find out about it, how would you feel? I know I wouldn't want to be in that situation."

McKeller's family told News4Jax on Wednesday that no arrest had been made. Meanwhile, the family is preparing for his funeral, which will be held at 10:30 a.m. Friday at Hardage-Giddens Funeral Home in Mandarin. 

A GoFundMe page has been set up to help the family with funeral expenses.  

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