VIRGINIA BEACH - Loved ones of Thomas Hitt, the man killed in a New Year's Day hit-and-run, came to the Virginia Beach Court house Wednesday to watch the man accused of killing their friend appear in court.
Tyeler Hutton is accused of crashing into Hitt at the intersection of South Independence Boulevard and Bonney Road around 1:40 a.m. Police say Hutton ran away from the accident; he was arrested several days later.
According to Hitt's loved ones, they were with him just before the accident, celebrating the start of 2018.
"We had a beautiful New Year’s Eve and just I can’t believe that something so tragic can happen within 20 minutes," said Jennifer Kellum, a longtime friend of Hitt. "The last thing he said to me was 'I love you, happy New Year' and I said 'I’ll see you soon' and I hugged him."
Shortly after this interaction, Kellum says Hitt was struck.
"To be taken away so senselessly is really hard," explained Kellum.
Friends and family say they are relieved that an arrest has been made in their friend's case, but having Hutton behind bars, doesn't change what happened to their friend.
"You just want there to be a person to be held accountable but it doesn’t take away the fact that our friend is gone," said Ashley Rainey.
Now Hitt's friends are remembering the good times they spent with Hitt and his infectious smile, instead of focusing on the tragic way their friend died.
"He had the biggest heart," said Kellum. "He was the most wonderful man and such a giving person, like a big teddy bear kind of guy. He always had a beautiful smile on his face was so good to my family."
Hitt's funeral has been scheduled for this weekend.
Hutton is scheduled to appear in court on Tuesday, January 16 for a bond hearing.