Homeless veteran killed in Mesa hit-and-run; suspect in custody

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By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
Derek Anthony Tinsley, 27 By Mike Gertzman Derek Anthony Tinsley, 27 By Mike Gertzman
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver

MESA, Ariz. -- Friends of a 60-year-old man killed in a hit-and-run in Mesa Friday evening say he was a military veteran who recently became homeless.

The man was riding his bike on Apache Trail around 5 p.m., possibly looking for his lost dog, when he was struck by an eastbound truck. Police said Derek Anthony Tinsley, 27, was driving a company truck erratically and swerved across three lanes.

According to police, Tinsley fled the scene but was tracked down at his home after witnesses provided his license plate number. He was taken into custody.

Friends of the Vietnam veteran say he had lived in Mesa for about two decades.

"Lately he's just been homeless, so he's just been bouncing around," Tom Seip said. "He slept at my house about three nights ago. His sleeping bag and pillow are still over there in my driveway."

Seip said he had been friends with the man for about 20 years and helped him build the bicycle that lay mangled on the street Friday night.

"Mikey was a nice guy, and he fought for our country," Seip said. "That is no way for him to go."