Hit-and-run death haunts witnesses, friends

Police caught the break they were looking for Thursday when a tip from the public led them to a car driven in a deadly hit-and-run accident.

Late Thursday night, Ottawa cops said they had located a black Nissan Maxima that struck and killed Stratford native Dan Miller on Bronson Ave. around 3:18 a.m. Wednesday.

Miller, 22, was struck as he crossed the road at MacLaren St. just south of Somerset Ave. W. The driver bolted and Miller died in hospital several hours later.

Police released few details Thursday night of their investigation other than to say they will be talking to “a person of interest” on Friday.

Miller’s best friend, Cody White, said news of the killer car being found lifts a huge weight from his mind and Miller’s family will be relieved as well.

“It’s great,” said White. “I’m still hurt and I’m still sad and this won’t bring him back, but I feel great. He was my brother.

“That they found the person means a lot to us. He’s my best friend forever. The guy they found, he didn’t come forward. He should have.”

White was with his girlfriend Chelsea, who didn’t want to talk, but he said she was very happy. Chelsea was also a very close friend of Miller.

“It’s also a weight off of her shoulders,” he said.

Earlier Thursday, Miller’s friends set up a memorial along a wooden porch at 332 Bronson, near the spot where his body was found, that included bouquets of flowers and a sign reading RIP DAN J. MILLER.

Mourners were stopping by the house at 332 all day, and several friends even spent Wednesday night out front with candles lit, said resident Denise Larabie.

She’s the one who called 911 after hearing people yelling and screaming.

“Every time I close my eyes, I just imagine the young lad laying there,” she said. “It’s really hard.”

Martin Smith also lives in the house and said he didn’t really know Miller, but still dropped off a colourful bouquet.

“I did it out of respect,” he said. “The guy hadn’t even lived; in his 20s, very young.”

— With files from Scott Taylor


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