Man Charged in Hit-and-Run That Killed Father of 5

Family members say the victim came to America to help support his family back in Africa.

By David Chang
|  Monday, Mar 18, 2013  |  Updated 1:57 PM EDT
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An African immigrant and father of five is dead after police say he was struck by a hit-and-run vehicle in Winslow Township. NBC10's Claudia Rivero has the details.

NBC10.com - Claudia Rivero

An African immigrant and father of five is dead after police say he was struck by a hit-and-run vehicle in Winslow Township. NBC10's Claudia Rivero has the details.

A Winslow Township man is charged with striking a father of five before leaving the scene of the crash over the weekend.

Joseph Thornton, 54, was behind bars Monday morning unable to post $185,000 bail. He is charged with death by auto and leaving the scene of a crime after he allegedly struck Ezekiel Tomboyeke Saturday night on Pump Branch Road in Winslow, the Camden County Prosecutor's Office announced in a press release.

Tomboyeke, 59, came to the United States to provide a better life for his family. Family members say the African immigrant was walking home from work shortly before 11:30 p.m. when suddenly he was struck by a vehicle passing by. The driver allegedly stopped briefly and then kept going.

"Police officers told us that it was a truck that hit him," said Tomboyeke's nephew Alhaji Mustapha. "They have a vague description of the automobile."

Tomboyeke was taken to Virtua Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

"It's a shame," said Tomboyeke's neighbor, John Falzarano. "I don't know how somebody could do that and drive away, you know?"

According to his family, Tomboyeke came to the United States in 1998 to escape the violence in his native Sierra Leone. The family says he worked at UPS and would send money back to Africa to support his family and kids.

"He had five kids in Africa that he was working to take care of," said Tomboyeke's niece, Haja Mustapha. "Someone killed him and left those five poor children."

An anonymous tip led investigators to Thornton's 1992 Pontiac Grand Am Sunday morning. There was visible damage consistent with a hit-and-run, according to prosecutors.

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