Family of hit-and-run victim asks public for information

Family and friends of a man killed last month in a hit-and-run gathered Wednesday to plead for information leading to the arrests of those responsible for his death.

John Louis Simmons, 32, died March 25 after he was struck while walking along U.S. 280 near Lee County Road 254. Alabama State Troopers are searching for a 2000-2004 GMC Yukon that may have damage to the right front headlight area. No arrests have been made.

“He was a man of dignity and honor,” said John William Simmons about his son. “He gave. He never took. We just want to bring some closure and justice for John.”

Lisa Lucchese, the deceased’s aunt, agreed. “He was a brother, a son, a nephew. Somebody out there has to know something. They have to know how important this man was. Someone like that should not have left his world so early.”

John Louis Simmons served in the Army for nine years and was a member of the 101st Airborne. He spent three tours in Iraq, and reached the rank of sergeant. He wanted to spend his career with the Army, though he left the service when he took full custody of his 14-year-old son, Austin.

Austin and his father lived at his Ladonia home. Austin has since returned to Grand Rapids, Mich., where his other three siblings live.

John Louis Simmons’ family attended his funeral this past weekend in Michigan, and came to Alabama this week to handle his estate. They held pictures of him Wednesday as Alabama State Troopers asked the public for help in finding those involved in the hit-and-run.

Trooper Charles Dysart said anyone with information should contact authorities if they see a GMC Yukon with damage to its front.

“If you’re in a repair shop and it fits that description, give law enforcement a call,” Dysart said. “You might think that it doesn’t mean anything, but you don’t know.”

Dysart said people can call any law enforcement agency with information. They should just reference the Lee County hit-and-run when they do.

They can also call state troopers at 334-745-4651.

“He fought for us. We need to fight for him,” Lucchese said. “Three tours in Iraq and he’s taken out this way? He deserves more.”