Family remembers hit-and-run victim, begs for justice


by Tanya Mendis

Bio | Email | Follow: @tanyamendis

Posted on July 17, 2014 at 7:37 AM

Updated Friday, Jul 18 at 4:49 PM

PHOENIX -- Dozens of family and friends, lit candles in hand, and held a memorial Wednesday night at the Mesa intersection where a 20-year-old young man was killed in a hit-and-run crash over the weekend.

Tyler Campbell was in the passenger seat of a car, heading home from a friend's house when a pickup truck T-bone the car. Campbell suffered massive head injuries and died at a local hospital hours later with loved ones surrounding him.

"I got to cuddle with him before he went and I felt his last breath and his last heartbeat," Catherine Dugan said. " I know he went more peacefully when I cuddled him." 

Dugan was Campbell's girlfriend of the past year. She drove all the way from California to be by his side when she got the call about the crash. Campbell's family waited to remove him from life support so she could say her goodbyes.

On Wednesday night, she sang a song in tribute to Campbell while dozens of friends looked on.

His aunt says outpouring of support was proof of the kind of person Campbell was.

"He just had a way about him that when he walked into a room you just felt lighter," Melanie DiMiceli says. "He brought laughter and joy."

So far, Mesa detectives have not made any arrests in the case.

The truck that hit Campbell is clearly marked as a company vehicle for Manny's Air, an air-conditioning company that serves the Phoenix Metro area. Detectives are still working to determine whether the driver is an employee of the company or whether the truck was stolen.

Family members say their grief is being overshadowed by the waiting for justice.

"It makes you a little bit scared," says Campbell's uncle, Darin DiMiceli. ''The guy's still out there. He hasn't been brought to justice. He hasn't been caught."