A Reading man was struck by an SUV and killed Monday night as he was trying to find his cell phone, the Berks County coroner said.
Elias Arismendy was hit by a Ford Escape around 9 p.m. outside the Deluxe Restaurant in the 2200 block of Lancaster Pike, near Ardmore Avenue.
"I don't know what I'm going to do. I can't live with this pain," said Erica Diaz, Arismendy's girlfriend.
Diaz was planning to spend New Year's Eve with her boyfriend of three years, but now she is left with only memories and a broken heart.
"He was always a kind person. He was a good friend and good company," said Diaz, as she broke down outside her apartment.
Arismendy, 33, was a father of three boys. He was thrown about 20 feet and pronounced dead at the scene after Doreen Grumbling, 46, of Denver, Lancaster Co., hit him while driving south on Lancaster Pike, said police.
"We all thought she hit a deer, but it was actually a body. It was just really traumatizing for everybody that was around us," said Jordan Concepcion, who was only a few feet away.
According to the Berks County coroner, Arismendy was walking on the side of the road trying to find his cell phone. He lost it earlier in the evening after he drove away from a gas station with the phone sitting on his roof.
Arismendy was hit as he tried to cross the dark road, said officials.
"The whole windshield was smashed in and cops were everywhere," said Aaron Kreider, who was near the scene.
"Getting hit by a car is so tragic, especially for the family and friends. It's just unfortunate for the community," said Concepcion.
Grumbling stopped at the Hess station. Authorities said they don't believe she was at fault in hitting Arismendy.
Lancaster Pike was closed to traffic for more than three hours while police and the district attorney's office conducted their on-scene investigation.