Dad of hit-and-run victim: ‘I need to see justice’

West Bay

WEST WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — “You need to come home.”

That was Christa Mills’ last request of her son Andrew Coit. 

Within an hour of that call, Andrew was hit and killed by a driver who fled the scene.

“I think I could have forgiven him if it had only been a few years,” Mills said through tears. “But not knowing for 12 years, not knowing who did it to him, it’s not fair. It’s not fair at all.”

The Talented Son

Andrew seemed to be good at everything he did.

“I’m still in awe of his talent,” his mom said.

He learned how to play guitar as a young teenager. He taught himself, his mom gushes.

“Whether it was sports – basketball, baseball, football – he was good at everything,” Mills added. “He just a really nice, nice kid.”

His father, Alan Coit, said the saddest part of his day was whenever his son left.

“I remember him, when he got older, coming with his friends to our house to shovel the driveway for us,” Alan said. “I was like, ‘that’s how it is. The kids taking care of the old man now.'”

At 18 years old, Andrew found out his girlfriend was pregnant. He was going to be a father. His mom was concerned by the challenge of her son being a teen parent but she said Andrew was ready.

“He was all gung-ho about being a new dad,” she recalled. “He was taking responsibility for being such a young man.”

She paused.

“His son was born a month and a half after he died,” she said in tears. “He never even got to meet him.”

Hit and Run

On the afternoon of March 24, 2007, a friend of Andrew’s from school hit a pole on Main Street in West Warwick and died.

Andrew didn’t know him that well but the news devastated him.

He walked to the pole and did what he could: play his guitar. It was his way of saying goodbye.

It was just around the corner from his mom’s house but it got late, so Christa called him.

“He was all choked up and crying,” she said. “I said, ‘I’m sorry that happened to him’ and I said, ‘you need to come home.'”

He told her he’d be right there but just wanted to play one more song.

A driver hit Andrew and left the scene. Another driver found Andrew in the street and called 911.

Christa and Alan rushed to the hospital. Andrew was already dead.

“He had everything to live for and now his son has to live without a father,” Christa said.

“Unless you’ve experienced it, you can’t put that into words,” Alan said. “That’s your kid. He’s supposed to bury me.”

Andrew Coit was 18.

The Driver

As the years have passed, the family has held memorials at that telephone pole.

Christa has a hard time holding back her emotions.

“I don’t know how they can sleep at night,” she said of the unknown driver. “How do they put their head on the pillow every night?”

West Warwick Police Detective Thomas Nye says the statute of limitations recently passed but they are continuing to investigate.

“It’s frustrating from a law point of view but we’re doing it for the family,” Nye said. “After 12 years, they still feel the pain as if it was yesterday.”

Without much to go on, they turned to a deck of playing cards. Each card details an unsolved homicide or missing persons case in Rhode Island. The deck is sold to inmates at the state prison, as well as to the public.

They hope the deck will publicize Andrew’s case and bring in tips. Anyone with information is urged to call 1-877-RI-SOLVE.

“I forgave a long time ago but you never forget,” Alan said. “I need to see justice.”

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