Springfield Police Identify Man Hit by Car Outside Stetsun's Bar

By: Kate Eckman
By: Kate Eckman

Any law enforcement officer will tell you drinking and driving isn't safe, but drinking and walking across a busy road can be just as dangerous.

Lamar Hobbs of the Springfield Police Department said, "It's definitely a safety issue there because people are mixing alcohol and roadways together."

Investigators say 63-year-old Robert Thomas Young of Panama City, walked out of Stetsun's Bar around 11:30 Wednesday night.

As he crossed State Road 22 to get to his car, he stepped out in-front of a car, driven by 24-year-old Steve Melecio.

Melecio hit Young.

Paramedics took Young to the hospital where he died about two-hours later.

Authorities say Melecio, who just returned home from serving in Iraq, is not at fault.

"Last night, the pedestrian was at fault because he walked out into a lane of traffic. We believe he may have been under the influence of alcohol at the time of the accident. The driver was not," Hobbs said.

Hobbs says Melecio was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. "There's not a lot you can do to prevent the incident."

So here is what’s happening: Patrons are walking out of Stensun's and then having to cross the street to get to their cars, which is when these fatalities are taking place.

This is the fourth time in the last five years that a pedestrian has been killed while trying to cross the road outside of Stensun's.

Investigators say alcohol has played a role in every fatality.

Three years ago, 34-year-old Seedra McGhee walked out of Stetsun's Bar, and was struck and killed by a car in the same location. In that case, the driver left the scene.

Authorities have been looking for him ever since.

"Ultimately, this makes the driver at fault, makes him liable,” says Hobbs. “It makes him look guilty."

Investigators say they haven't given up on the McGhee case.

"Every time we get a lead on this case, we follow up on it. We'll go wherever we need to go to solve this case. Seedra McGhee is certainly not forgotten, her family is not forgotten. We care about them and their case and solving it. And we're doing everything we can to solve it," said Hobbs.

Stetsun managers told us they've asked the city for a flashing light in-front of the business.

However, the state is responsible for maintaining State Road 22.

Springfield Police do their part to cut down on accidents. Hobbs says, “We’re putting more police officers down there and making several DUI arrests."

Robert Young was not a stranger to local police. He was a registered sex offender.


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