As a father of two young children, Matt Simpson always took care on family cycling outings — being sure to hit the crosswalk button even when his wife’s bike was pulling their trailer.
Simpson, 40, was in the crosswalk on Guess Road last Sunday, with the walk signal showing, when an oncoming car hit him going roughly 50 mph — knocking him from his bike in front of his wife and two toddlers.
His family, hoping the driver will be found, remembered him Saturday as “passionate about his family,” never working more than a minute than necessary because they did everything together.
“He was in the hospital and we just kept saying, ‘He has the most brilliant brain imaginable,’ “ said his wife, Allison. “He was not only so incredibly intelligent, he was creative. He played the piano. He played the trumpet. He could paint. He was just a special human being.”
Durham police continue their search for Omari Newsome, 33, named in warrants as the suspected driver. He was last seen pulling the bike out of the car’s front end. The car that killed Simpson is described as a gray Volkswagen Jetta.
When located, he is expected to be charged with felony hit and run with serious injuries, felony conspiracy, driving while license suspended, failure to reduce speed, and failure to stop at a steady red light.
Adrienne Barnett, Simpson’s sister-in-law, said the family is pleading for information because Simpson, “a wonderful provider with a strong sense of right and wrong,” would want people to come forward.
A software engineer, Simpson moved to Durham from Washington, D.C., shortly after getting married in 2014. On the day of the hit-and-run, he and his family had been riding bikes to a museum.
“He was funny, he was gentle, he was patient, he was silly,” Barnett said. “I always thought that nobody could be good enough for my sister, but he proved me wrong.”
Police ask anyone with information to call investigator J. Bell at 919-560-4935, ext. 29411, or Crime Stoppers at 919-683-1200. Crime Stoppers offers cash rewards for tips that lead to an arrest.
This story was originally published July 16, 2022 1:59 PM.
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