Hit-and-run victim remembered for his big heart, loyalty to friends
SPOKANE, Wash. — You can imagine how angry and frustrated you would feel if one of your best friends died — even more so, when you imagine how Tyler Chestnutt died.
Police say Chestnutt was riding a Lime scooter Wednesday near Crestline and Wellesley when a man driving a stolen car hit him going way over the speed limit in a 30-mile per hour zone. The suspect was reported to have driven off, leaving Chestnutt behind to die.
Chestnutt’s death has left those who loved him most to reflect on the friend he was to so many people.
His close friends Jonathan and Henry Tibbetts told 4 News Now over the phone Chestnutt was “family” to them and was “one of the nicest, most loyal people you’ll ever meet.”
“He was an incredible friend and would help you with anything you needed” their sister, Heather Connor, said. “It’s hard to believe that he is really gone. We will miss him deeply. It breaks my heart to think of how he died.”
“Tyler was one of the most caring people, you know,” his friend Brett Johnson said. “I don’t think I had a single time where I didn’t see a smile on his face.”
Johnson said he met Chestnutt in a kickball league. After a few months of knowing each other, Johnson fell on hard times, so he said Chestnutt offered him a place to stay.
“I had an unfortunate event happen in my life and I was like, ‘I don’t really have anywhere to sleep tonight,'” Johnson said. “And he was like, ‘well, why don’t you just move in with me?”
Johnson said that was who Chestnutt was as a friend. He said he never wavered in his support for those he loved — even on the night he passed away.
“The night he died he came and watched me play hockey,” Johnson said. “I play in a beer league, hockey league, and he came and watched me play hockey at 9:30 at night on a Wednesday — just because that’s the kind of guy he was.”
When he heard about the accident, Johnson had no idea it was Chestnutt who was killed.
“That’s such a sad thing to hear about and I thought it had, you know, just like all of us think. ‘it has no connection to our lives,’ but in this instance it had a major impact on my life,” Johnson said. “When you think about stuff like that, you know, you really think that ‘I’d be the person to not to that in a hit and run,’ ‘I would stop and I would try and take care of that person and make sure they’re okay,’ but it’s frustrating that that’s not the case.”
The man who admitted to the hit-and-run couldn’t run away from his court appearance Wednesday.
Desean Weeks told police he stole a car, then eventually hit Chestnutt with it last week. Weeks is being held on a $200,000 bond and will be back in court Oct. 28.
From here on out, Johnson is dedicating himself to making Chestnutt proud.
“Tyler’s a hard person to honor in just one instance or one event,” Johnson said. “You know, I’ll remember him for my entire life.”
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