A grandfather-of-seven has been identified as the victim of a “horrific” hit-and-run crash in Melbourne’s southeast.
Bruce Fitz-Gerald was walking home from his local club about 7.30pm on Thursday when he was hit by the vehicle as he crossed Burgins Road at Rowville.
The driver of the car did not stop to help, but continued to travel east.
The 72-year-old sustained serious leg injuries and was taken to the Alfred Hospital where he remains in a stable condition.
Victoria Police believe the car was a dark-coloured SUV, possibly a Land Rover Discovery or similar, and would have a damaged left-side mirror.
“Investigators believe the vehicle struck the victim with the left side mirror and knocked him to the road causing serious lower body injuries, cuts and abrasions,” it confirmed in a statement.
“The impact left parts of the vehicle’s side mirror on the road.”
Mr Fitz-Gerald, who has four children, has been married to wife Alison for 22 years.
His daughter Lisa said the great grandfather-of-one loved many sports — predominantly AFL — and enjoyed playing golf.
“Bruce is the person that everyone can go to and rely on whenever they are in need of assistance, support or an articulate advocate,” she said.
‘Now it is Bruce that is in need and we hope he can get the assistance he requires to get back on his feet.
“We are all rallying together as family and friends to try to repay some of the support Bruce has provided to all of us our whole lives.”
The Collingwood supporter sadly lost two brothers in the past two years, a number of friends and a nephew Lisa said he was “very close to”.
“He was looking forward to his nephews memorial service in Balranald in several weeks and an upcoming trip to visit friends in Darwin now that COVID restrictions have eased and while he is still young enough to travel.
“That is all now very much in jeopardy as there is now clear indication on his lifelong mobility following this horrific event.”
CCTV footage of the incident was released earlier this week.
Police want to speak to a witness who was on the opposite side of the road, wearing high vis clothing who had left the scene before officers arrived.
Investigators are also looking for the driver of a white dual cab utility, possibly a Mitsubishi Triton, that was seen travelling behind the offending vehicle.
Anyone who may have witnessed the crash or have dashcam footage is asked to come forward and contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or go online.