SANTA ROSA, Calif. - In the North Bay, the hit-and-run death of a homeless man took a new turn when a new witness came forward.
Santa Rosa police now say the victim was hit not once, but twice, and dragged then run over by the second car.
Neither driver stopped or called help for 37-year-old Matthew Eck.
"Oh no, you've got to be kidding me, he was hit twice?" reacted mother Karen Eck, upon learning the new details. "Holy Jesus, where do these people come from?"
Karen Eck received the coroner's call Saturday night: Her son had been hit at about 9:20 p.m., crossing busy Occidental Road just west of Stony Point Road. He died at the scene.
On his Facebook page, he had posted occasional photos and comments, poking fun at the odd jobs he takes or the empty fuel gauge on his truck.
He came to Sonoma County with his parents and siblings as a teenager, and had attended Maria Carillo High School and Santa Rosa Junior College.
His father now lives in Southern California.
Eck's mother, who is in supportive housing in Santa Rosa, has struggled with homelessness, like her son.
"But I don't understand why two cars had to hit him, and just leave, that is so mean," said Karen Eck, "and someone knew those drivers, someone saw those people."
Those are the tips police need, especially since the witness who contacted them on Wednesday was able to clarify that a white Honda Prelude seen on security video, was actually the second car to hit Eck after another knocked him down.
"The witness said he was still alive, still moving after the first one, " said Santa Rosa Police Officer Kenneth Ferrigno, who is investigating the fatal incident.
The witness said the second car dragged Eck the length of a football field, then stopped, and ran over him, in order to leave.
Police found the callousness startling.
"We get hit-and-run collisions all the time, but for two people to do it, is very surprising," said Ferrigno.
The first driver - a heavyset woman in a brown or maroon sedan- did pull over and get out of her car.
But witnesses say she got back in and drove away, when it might have made a difference. Eck's sleeping bag and shopping cart were found at a shrub on Occidental Road, his usual spot, and where he crossed the road.
"Life on the street is a challenge, and they pretty-much live day by day," said Traffic Sgt. Summer Gloeckner, " and unfortunately, this resulted really tragically."
In the strip mall Eck favored, there is a hiring office where he picked up day jobs.
His Facebook photos show him waving promotional signs on street corners for cell phone providers and pizza parlors.
Eck's mother says he was a good man, conscientious, and hard-working no matter the task, but that he had long-term battles with alcoholism.
He was living in his pick-up in recent years, until he lost it after a crash and DUI arrest, but Karen Eck says he walked across town to attend his court dates, and served his sentence.
Other people in the west Santa Rosa homeless community, are talking about his death.
"I don't want to go that way, " said friend Greg Weber, "and it's just sad, because he wasn't a bad guy, he was alright, but not tough, he got beat up by people sometimes."
Eck's mom points to a Facebook photo that shows him with a panhandling sign, and his own caption: "I hate this."
"He hated being homeless, he hated not having a place to go," said Karen Eck, sad for her son's lost potential, as well as his loss of life. "I want those two drivers found, and I want them prosecuted, because nothing is going to be the same again."
Because Eck was jaywalking, it's unlikely anyone would have been cited for hitting him.
But the accidents became felony hit and run when both drivers left him for dead only feet from his makeshift camp.
Anyone with information about the vehicles involved in the collision is asked to call police Sgt. Summer Gloeckner in the traffic division at (707) 543-4108.