Family of victim in fatal hit-and-run offering reward for information of driver

An Irondequoit family is taking matters into their own hands to try and find the person responsible for a fatal hit-and-run last week. Nick O'Rourke's cousin is offering a reward to track down the driver of a white Nissan. (WHAM photo)

Irondequoit, N.Y. (WHAM) - The cousin of a man struck & killed on Route 104 one week ago is trying to help New York State Police find the driver of the car that took off.

Investigators said the driver of a white Nissan 350z that left the scene on Sept. 14 after hitting and killing Nick O'Rourke, 61.

O'Rourke’s cousin, Richard Barone, is now on a mission. Friday, Barone handed out flyers to auto shops around the Rochester area. He’s offering a $1,000 reward for information about the driver, and a $3,000 reward if those tips lead to the conviction of the driver.

“I'm trying to get justice for my cousin,” Barone said.

Barone is asking anyone with information to come forward and to be on the lookout for a possible 2006 to 2009 white Nissan sports car that likely has front and side damage, including a missing passenger side mirror.

“What we're hoping is that maybe somebody may have seen the car, or maybe a neighbor knows about this car,” he said.

JG Autowerks Service Manager Bob Lippa Jr. said that type of sports car is rare in the area.

“We don't see many of them,” Lippa said. “They're not really good in the winter time, so people really have them for a toy car, a performance car.”

Barone left flyers at several auto repair shops, including JG Autowerks and Excel Service & Towing in Rochester.

State Police said O'Rourke was walking along the shoulder of Route 104 near the Seneca Avenue exit when he was hit.

Darla Ferera said she was O'Rourke’s best friend. She's still dealing with his loss.

“I honestly can’t believe that somebody would hit somebody and just take off. It’s just terrible. I mean that’s a human life, and he was such a great guy,” she said. “He was very loving, giving. He could be having the worst day, but he would smile and crack a joke.”

Ferera said he was walking home from Rochester General Hospital that night.

“I texted him probably every 10-15 minutes we kept in touch. I’d say, 'Are you okay? Are you okay?' We were texting back-and-forth,” she said.

Then Ferera said she didn't hear back from O'Rourke, and knew something was wrong. Ferera believes she was the last person to speak with him.

“The last time I talked to him was 10:20 p.m. and he said, 'I love you,'” Ferera said. “That meant a lot that he got that out, and we got to say that to each other.”

Barone hopes for an arrest, and that his flyer will bring people forward.

“We want to be sure no one else thinks they can get away with driving to Irondequoit and going fast and killing somebody,” said Barone.

Barone is also placing ads in local newspapers to help search for the white Nissan 350z.

Anyone with information is asked to call State Police at 585-279-8891.

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