Family of 23-year-old killed in hit-and-run beg driver to come forward

GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. — A metro Atlanta mother is pleading for help as police try to find the person who hit and killed her son along a busy road.

Richard Bartlett III, 23, was strapping a mattress and box springs to his car on McGinnis Ferry Road just after 9:30 p.m. June 2 when he was hit. Bartlett died from his injuries.

The vehicle that witnesses said hit and killed Bartlett is still in the wind, and Bartlett’s devastated family is praying for answers.

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Channel 2′s Gwinnett County Bureau Chief Tony Thomas was on McGinnis Ferry Road as the family gathered Thursday.

You can still see the green paint investigators sprayed on the road, marking the locations of the cars that were involved.

Bartlett’s mother is a Gwinnett County deputy and his brother, Stephon Tuitt, plays for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Family members said Bartlett was the glue that held the family together.

“It’s unbelievable,” his mother, Tamara Bartlett, said. “I can’t come to terms with it. I can’t.”

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Bartlett’s mother was standing right next to her son when the driver hit him and kept going.

“One minute my child is alive. The next minute, somebody’s speeding and not paying attention and killed my child,” Tamara Bartlett said.

The family said Richard was in the process of moving. He had put a mattress on the top of a friend’s car but it came loose. The friend pulled over on the side of the road. Richard pulled over behind him and his mother parked behind her son. Family members said Richard was tying the load when the car ran into him.

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“The fact that he was killed by someone who is too cowardly to show his face. How can you live with destroying a family?” his brother, Jared Bartlett, said.

Tamara Bartlett said that as she rushed to try to help her dying son, she watched the dark 4-door sedan bounce across the median into incoming traffic. Johns Creek police said the car should have damage on its front right side and windshield.

“It turned, went back across the median, flipped the front lights off and it accelerated toward Peachtree Industrial,” Tamara Bartlett said.

Johns Creek police have electric signs up in the area, asking for tips.

“Come forward,” Tamara Bartlett said. “Come forward. I am devastated.”