Family mourns death of 18-year-old as Vallejo police look for hit-and-run driver

VALLEJO, Calif. (KGO) -- A candlelight vigil is set for tonight in Vallejo for the 18-year-old girl who was killed Wednesday afternoon by a hit-and-run driver who is still at large. Ayres Buffin, 18, was walking on the sidewalk along Vervais Avenue at 3:45 p.m. She was on FaceTime, her earbuds in, talking wih a friend when an SUV rolling backwards on the steep hill struck and killed her.

Neighbor Mike Coakley heard the crash and saw the aftermath from his bedroom window as he watched the overturned SUV land in front of his driveway. He said, "the tires were still rolling and then I saw a body across the street in the gutter. I knew there was a problem so I called 911."

Coakley shared his surveillance video with the police. He says the driver gets out, looks at the injured girl and then runs away up the street.

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The victim's family friend Twannette Palmer said, "He needs to turn himself in right now before something happens to him. He needs to turn himself in, we know who you are."

Police are looking for the alleged driver, 29-year-old Vincent Fitzer of Vallejo who they say has a criminal history including violent acts.

Lt. Michael Nicolini with Vallejo PD says he appears to be transient, not living at any one location. He says they've reached out to many of his family members.

They are grieving the sudden death of the 18-year-old Vallejo high school senior who was on FaceTime with Twannette Palmer's daughter at the time of the crash. Palmer says her daughter heard Ayres scream, then the phone fell and she knew she was dead.

Ayres Buffin was described as always smiling, always happy. Police say they are investigating the possibility that the 1994 suburban that hit her may have had a mechanical problem that caused it to roll backwards down the steep hill and up onto the sidewalk.
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