Son of Delmar hit-and-run victim speaks out

October 31, 2018 11:32 PM

DELMAR - The search continues for the driver who hit an 80-year-old man riding his bike in Delmar around 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Nelson Harrington is in good spirits, despite having five broken ribs and a spinal fracture as a result of the hit-and-run.


Harrington is a beloved member of the community. As a retired physical education teacher, he rides his bike constantly, and knows the area very well.

Though he's expected to be okay, Nelson’s family is still struggling with the fact that things could have gone very differently.

"When you pause for a minute that's what humanizes it and that's when it really gets difficult because you start thinking of what could've happened how simple timing saved that man's life,” Nelson’s son Dave Harrington said.

Dave Harrington is a retired Bethlehem Police Officer.

Dave said Nelson knew he wasn't wearing reflective clothing and that the area of Elsmere Avenue where he was riding is not well lit, so he rode on the sidewalk up until he had to cross the street.

That's where police say he was struck by a vehicle. Nelson ended up in a nearby puddle, his bike landing several yards away from him.

Dave said when he got to the scene, investigators still weren't sure if Nelson fell, or if he was struck by vehicle.

"I got out and looked at the bike and as soon as I saw the back tire I knew exactly what had happened,” Harrington said. “I've seen enough bike accidents...It was bent up pretty good."

Though details are limited, police believe the driver was in a dark colored SUV and was heading north on Elsmere Ave.

"I think at this point they're trying to analyze the debris they found to see if they can narrow it down a little more to the type of vehicle, make and model,” Harrington said. “Which is easy to do if they have the right pieces."

While police continue to investigate, Nelson is at Albany Medical Center recovering. Dave said his father is staying remarkably upbeat.

"All in all he's in very good spirits and looking forward to getting out of the hospital as quick as possible because you can't keep that man down,” Harrington said. "Even Dad said today he goes, ‘If they just stopped you know I'd wash my hands of this.’ He goes, ‘Accidents happen, but I'm a little miffed they took off,’ that's it, I'm a little miffed."

If you were near the intersection of Elsmere and Fernbank in Delmar around 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday investigators with the Bethlehem Police Department want to hear from you. You can reach them at 518-439-9973.


Emily Burkhard

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