Somerset man who used wheelchair killed in hit and run

A 65-year-old man in a motorized wheelchair who police said was killed late Friday night in a hit-and-run accident in Somerset was known to townspeople and remembered as a kind person.

Police found James Moore of Somerset at 11:43 p.m., apparently knocked out of his wheelchair, lying on Read Street close to Southway Drive, about a quarter mile from his residence, police said in a statement released on Saturday.

Police Chief Joseph C. Ferreira described Moore as a “kind person who was well-known” in town and a regular attendee of police events.

“Just a couple of weeks ago, he drove his wheelchair to Town Meeting,” Ferreira said in the statement. “He sought me out and let me know that he purposely came to Town Meeting to support the police.”

Moore may have been trying to cross Read Street, according to a statement from Yasmina Serdakevic, spokeswoman for the Bristol County District Attorney.

The car that allegedly hit the man fled, according to police. Authorities in the southeast Massachusetts town are looking for a gray car with damage to the right front end and right headlight. Investigators believe the car is a Toyota Avalon manufactured between 1997 and 1999, according to the district attorney’s office.

Moore was pronounced dead at 12:55 a.m. Saturday at Fall River’s Charlton Memorial Hospital, the police statement said.

Donald P. Setters Jr., chairman of the Somerset Board of Selectmen, said Moore was known around town as a perseverant man who lived an active life despite the challenges presented by a handicap that required him to use a motorized wheelchair.

“I really admired him for that,” Setters said in a phone interview Saturday. “He wanted to live a normal life as much as possible.”

Setters said Moore was a common sight around town as he traveled from place to place.

“Even if you didn’t know him by name, you knew him,” Setters said.