I was saddened to recognize the name of the hit and run driver from Broadway and Sobieski St. Mike Held 32, was a former soccer player of mine from the school #28 Lighted Schoolhouse days...
Michael D. Held, 32, was identified as the driver after an intensive, three-week police investigation that focused on auto parts suppliers and auto repair shops, Buffalo Police Commissioner Daniel Derenda said at a news conference.
One summer, we tried to help Mike with a summer youth job. I was running soccer camps for 8 to 12 year olds. He had been a very good worker. He was on time and helpful towards the kids. But halfway through the summer, he was caught stealing something from one of the participants and had to be let go. I felt bad about it, because I knew him to be a good kid from a pretty troubled background. He had been fighting this difficult background from a very early age. I honestly felt he was trying to break away from it. We had no choice, however.
I feel bad for the victim's (April Smith) family in this case. She leaves seven children without a mother. One can only wonder what these guys were up to driving around the East Side at six in the morning. This is the 2nd hit and run death in WNY this month. The last victim, Ryan Purcell, was a former South Buffalo soccer player from a great family, and now the suspect in this case, a former player. Very unfortunate couple of weeks.
Man charged in fatal hit-run