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Police search for clues in fatal hit-and-run death of Coleman

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Father of nine struck while walking on Richburg Road

By Nancy Parsons

GREAT FALLS –  Nine children are left without a father after someone struck and killed the person they called “Daddy” sometime between 3 and 6:30 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 8.

The accident happened less than a quarter of a mile from where London Coleman, 43, lived with his family on Richburg Road (S.C. 99) in Chester County.

Chester County Chief Deputy Coroner Tommy Williams said a passing motorist found Coleman’s body around 6:30 a.m. Saturday.

“He (Coleman) was unresponsive and not breathing,” Williams said.

Williams listed the cause of death as blunt force trauma with head injury. He said an autopsy was performed at Piedmont Medical Center in Rock Hill. Williams said no broken bones were noted. 

Coleman’s girlfriend of 16 years, Monica Eagle, said Coleman suffered one broken rib and had scuff  marks on his elbows.

Williams said there were no witnesses to the fatality.

Eagle said her live-in boyfriend came home around 2 a.m. and went back out to Shooter’s on Chester Avenue.

She said she had seven children with Coleman and he also served as father to her two other children. The children, three boys and six girls, range in age from 3 to 17.

Eagle said Coleman was an excellent dad, helped the children with their homework and attended their sporting events when he could.

He worked at Brown’s Pallet.

“He was the disciplinarian,” Eagle said. “And he was a good-hearted guy.”

Eagle said she had gotten up with Coleman but she went back to bed and back to sleep. She said she got back up at 5 a.m. to go to work. 

She said Coleman was normally at home when she left for her job at Lancaster Convalescent Center. But this time, he wasn’t.

“He was always home to wake me up,” she said.

Eagle said she went on to work and kept calling Coleman’s cell phone that morning but he never answered it. 

“I had an eerie feeling,” she said. “Something just didn’t seem right.”

Eagle said Coleman was raised by his  aunt, Johnnie Mae Coleman. 

Eagle said Coleman’s aunt  called her at work about 8:30 a.m. that morning  to tell her  the news.

“She told me he was dead,” Eagle said.

Tragedy has plagued Eagle for the past six years. Her younger brother, Matthew, drowned in 2006. Four months ago, on May 7, Eagle’s mother died in her arms after a battle with cancer.

Losing her boyfriend and the father of her children has left Eagle with another great loss.

“I don’t know how to feel right now,” she said. “He was my soul mate.”

Channing Coleman, 10, described her father as a good person. She enjoyed talking to him and  he was a good listener. Channing especially enjoyed their trips to Carowinds. 

Destinie Coleman, 8, is also sad and said she will miss playing “dragon” with her father. During the game, he would tickle her, she explained.

S.C. Highway Patrol Lance Cpl. Billy Elder said Coleman, a pedestrian, was struck by a motorist about 4 a.m. 

The Highway Patrol is releasing limited information about what they have termed as a “fatal hit and run.” 

The patrol’s Multi-disciplinary Accident Investigation Team (MAIT) is investigating the fatality. The Chester County Coroner’s Office is also assisting.

The Highway Patrol is looking for a Nissan, possibly blue, that may have struck Coleman as he walked on the shoulder of the road. The vehicle left the scene after the collision, according to the Highway Patrol.

Eagle questions if her boyfriend’s death was accidental. She said she is frustrated and does not think it was a hit-and-run. 

Eagle said there is no evidence to indicate a hit -and-run. There are no tire marks and no blood splatter, she said.  

“I don’t think he got hit,” she said. “My heart won’t let me. Something ain’t right.”

If you have any information about this collision or about a vehicle of interest, contact the S.C. Highway Patrol at (803) 385-3107, 1-800-768-1504 or *47 or *HP on your cell phone. You can also call Cpl. McCloud at (803) 374-0806, or you can call Crime Stoppers at 1-888-CRIME-SC.  

Anyone with information on the identity of those responsible is asked to call, email or text your anonymous tip at: www.midlandscrimestoppers.com. Text “TIPSC plus your message” to CRIMES (274637). Your tip could earn you a cash reward of up to $1000 for information leading to the arrest of those responsible.