Lebanon Junction man dies while protecting strangers - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Lebanon Junction man dies while protecting strangers

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David Vittitoe (Source: Vittitoe family) David Vittitoe (Source: Vittitoe family)
Jesse Vittitoe Jesse Vittitoe
Michael Vittitoe Michael Vittitoe
Officer Bryce Shumate Officer Bryce Shumate

LEBANON JUNCTION, KY (WAVE) - David Vittitoe knew Highway 313 so well that it was second nature to help a driver he'd never met. On the night of January 20, Vittitoe and his girlfriend, Molly Witt, were on their way back home to Lebanon Junction after visiting her mother when he spotted a vehicle disabled after hitting a deer.

"If it was cold and you needed a ride, he'd pick em' up," said Jesse Vittitoe, David's younger brother. "That's who he was."

David was a brother who by age 23 could call himself a homeowner.

"He bought a foreclosure," Jesse Vittitoe said. "They completely gutted it all. He pretty much built his own house."

David was the third of Michael and Kathy Vittitoe's five children. He was also a partner with his father in a trucking company.

"I can't tell you how many times we'd stop and change a tire," said Michael Vittitoe.

"Escort trucks always have to be more cautious that than the driver," Jesse Vittitoe explained. "He was always on the CB with my dad warning what was coming."

That's why David's family can't quite believe he lost his life trying to help that stranger on 313. David was struck and killed by another driver while he was directing traffic.

"It's a dark roadway," said Officer Bryce Shumate, public information officer for the Radcliff Police Department. "It's a straight section; there's no curves between Boundary Road and 31W. And he had a flashlight in his hand."

"His lights were on, the other car's lights were on," said Michael Vittitoe. "Molly said the first thing he did was tell her to stay in his truck, and he opened the toolbox for his flashing LED's (lights)."

The lights were still flashing when David's parents arrived at the scene. However first responders hadn't told them David was already was gone.

"I kept trying to get to him, to talk to him," said Michael Vittitoe while choking back tears. "They said, ‘you don't want to see him like this.' I saw two sheets … they had to hold me back."

Radcliff police would not confirm if they took blood samples from the other driver for blood and alcohol tests.

"It is an open investigation," Shumate said. "But it would be standard procedure for us to ask that as an investigating agency."

"I won't rest until I find out what happened," Michael Vittitoe said.

Shumate said several police officers and emergency responders knew the Vittitoe family. But all know now the caliber of the man lost.

"Most people would have called on their cell phones to report that," said Shumate. "It does give testament that he would actually stop and render aid and help his fellow man."

Visitation for David Lloyd Vittitoe will be from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. January 23 and after 9 a.m. January 24 at Kappel Funeral Home in Lebanon Junction. Funeral services have been moved to 2 p.m. January 24 at the First Baptist Church to accommodate the large numbers expected to pay their respects.

Vittitoe carried no life insurance. A special fund has been set up at PNC Bank to cover funeral expenses.

"You'll remember him from his laughter and love," Jesse Vittitoe said. "His bright smile. He touched everybody he was around."

A legacy already certain, but cut far too short.

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