Man dies in hit-run accident in Chelsea

Police seek help in finding driver

CHELSEA – Authorities are seeking the public’s help in identifying the driver of a vehicle that fatally struck a man in Chelsea and then fled early Sunday, in what investigators are calling a tragic hit-and-run that has left the victim’s family searching for answers.

Israel Sanchez, 39, crossed Route 16 just before 12:30 a.m. in the area of Washington Avenue and was struck by a vehicle in the westbound lane, “suffering mortal injuries,’’ Chelsea police and Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley said yesterday in a joint statement.

Jake Wark, a spokesman for Conley, said Sanchez’s friends have said he was walking home when he was hit. Wark could not say where Sanchez was coming from.

Chelsea police Captain Keith Houghton, a department spokesman, could not confirm where Sanchez was heading but said last night that he lived very close to the scene of the crash.

Sanchez was taken to Massachusetts General Hospital, where he was later pronounced dead, according to the joint statement.

Wark said road conditions at the time of the hit-and-run are a part of the collision analysis.

The vehicle that struck Sanchez is described as small and dark-colored, with damage to its front end and a cracked or broken windshield. It may have lost a strip of molding from the windshield area, as well as a windshield wiper, authorities said.

“Mr. Sanchez’s family has suffered a terrible loss, and they’re looking for answers,’’ Conley said in the statement. “We believe the public, and specifically the area’s repair shops, may be able to help them.’’

Investigators have reached out to area mechanics, glass replacement services, and auto body shops, authorities said.

“In a time of tragedy like this, the public’s help can truly make a difference and provide some solace to the Sanchez family,’’ Chelsea Police Chief Brian Kyes said in the statement.

Sanchez’s family could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Anyone with information on his death is asked to call Chelsea police detectives at 617-466-4843 or the Suffolk County State Police Detective Unit at 617-727-8817.

Tipsters who wish to remain anonymous may call the Chelsea Police CrimeStoppers tip line at 617-466-4880, text the word CHELSEA and their information to TIP411 (847411), or submit information online at