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Paint spot indicates Mercedes in hit-run

A tiny paint smudge on the jeans of a 50-year-old man struck and killed by a car last summer may help police finally find the driver.

The paint indicates the car that struck Randolph J. Graham as he walked along West Bay Drive on July 27 was likely a late 1980s Mercedes-Benz 190 with dark gray metallic paint, Officer Jim Hartwell said. Other Mercedes models have not been ruled out.

Previously, witnesses were able to describe the fleeing car only as a white or silver mid-size vehicle, with damage to its right front end and windshield. It was last seen going east on West Bay near 12th Street SW.

"That's basically all we had until now," Hartwell said.

Hartwell released the new description Tuesday in hopes that witnesses or people with information might come forward and produce new leads.

"There's somebody driving around with a guilty conscience," he said.

The night of the crash, Graham was walking his bicycle east in the middle of the curb lane about 9:30 p.m. It was unclear where he was headed or whether he was trying to cross the street.

One car swerved, narrowly missing Graham, who shouted and waved his fists at the driver, witnesses told police. Then a second car crashed into him but kept going.

Graham died at the scene.

After the crash, an unidentified caller phoned police, saying Graham was at fault, and then hung up. Efforts to identify that caller were unsuccessful, so it remained unknown whether it was the driver.

TO HELP

Anyone with information about the unsolved hit-and-run crash is asked to call Officer Jim Hartwell at 587-6730.

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