A father’s plea for help

Sam Messina is the father of Matthew Messina, victim of a fatal hit-and-run on June 17.

My son Matthew was struck by a hit- and-run driver at the intersection of Pomona and Miller avenues and River Road on June 17. Matt died two days later from injuries he suffered.

My wife and I came from New York to be with our son during those last days.

The wonderful support I have received from everyone in Chico, and particularly the California Highway Patrol, has meant so much to my wife, two daughters and me at this difficult time. The outpouring of care and feelings for us and Matthew has made Chico and the folks here a loving and healing part of our lives, even though we hurt more than I can say. Thank you for the love you have shown us.

We are confident that the CHP, aided by the Chico Police Department and other law enforcement agencies, will in due time apprehend the responsible person. There is an eyewitness and other evidence that will lead to the successful conclusion of this case. It will take time, but from what I know and from the commitment of the CHP, the outcome is clear—justice will prevail. Our family is also offering a reward for information that leads to apprehension.

But there is a far better way to have closure on this tragedy; better for our family and better for the person who accidentally hit Matt on that ill-fated night. That person should take responsibility for his or her actions by coming forth and telling the truth. We know that the lighting was not good at that corner and that Matt did not have lights on his bike. We understand the likely fear and panic that may have overwhelmed the driver.

Most of all we understand and truly believe that there can be no peace in this life for the person who hit Matt or anyone who may know of this, unless and until they contact the CHP (530-879-1999) or me (518-859-2918) or email smessin3@nycap.rr.com and say what they believe to be the truth. My family has confidence in the Christian faith belief that people need to try to do what is right while they live on this earth. Right in this instance is for people involved to speak the truth.

Finally, Matthew’s life deserves that the person who accidentally hit him or someone who knows about this to come forward. Matt was a good young man and just really getting started in life. He was a United States Marine. He went to Norwich University, the Military College of Vermont. Over the past two years he worked extensively with young children as a daycare center teacher and as a full-time special aid professional to a child with cerebral palsy. Matt came from Albany to Chico to complete his degree requirement in business administration.

The final act of Matt’s life was to donate his organs as a gift of life to others. At this moment we can tell you that a man and two women with children are alive because of this gift from our son.

Thank you for listening.