But police said this week that the investigation into the death of 37-year-old Paul Smith was at a “standstill.”
“We’re treating this as a hat-and-run crash. But we have found no evidence at the scene and nobody has come forward as an eyewitness,” a spokesman for the Pennsylvania State Police said.
Smith, a married man with a 3-year-old daughter, was found dead by Interstate 81 on Wednesday morning, Dec. 18.
The car in which he had been driving alone was found crashed about a half mile from where his body was found. It had apparently veered off the highway and down an embankment. Smith had managed to walk the intervening distance from the car, but police believe that at this point he was struck by another vehicle.
At one point, investigators told the family that it was thought possible that Smith may have died from injuries sustained in the original crash. But the death certificate recorded “multiple blunt traumatic injuries” sustained as a result of being struck by a vehicle
Smith’s brother Patrick, who lives in nearby Scranton, said that his brother’s remains had not been shown to the family because of the extent of his injuries.
Smith said that his brother, who was from the Coolock area of Dublin, and had been living permanently in the U.S. since 1994, had put on three coats, which he had with him in the car before he had started walking.
Smith said he did not believe that this was the action of a man with injuries that were inevitably fatal.
He said the family was certain that Paul Smith had been the victim of a hit-and-run driver.
State Police closed down a section of I-81 last Wednesday as they carried out their investigation into the Dublin man’s death.
A report in the Scranton Times Tribune newspaper, meanwhile, stated that Smith had died from injuries sustained in a “hit-and-run accident on Interstate 81, Moosic.”
The dead man had lived in Hanover Township, close to Wilkes-Barre, with his wife, Elaine, their 3-year-old daughter, Kaylee and Smith’s stepson, Christopher Mendoza.
Smith had worked in construction and was a member of Laborers Union Local 130 in Scranton.
His funeral last Saturday followed Mass in Sacred Heart/St. John the Evangelist Church in Wilkes-Barre.