KILLEEN, Texas - The mother of a Ft. Hood soldier is asking for the public's help in finding the driver who struck and killed her son.
Army Sgt. Derek Pagan was stationed at Ft. Hood more than 1,600 miles away from his home state of Pennsylvania.
Linda Pagan told FOX 7 by phone Wednesday that he planned to visit next month to see his new niece for the first time. He won't get that chance.
The 29 year old is Austin's latest hit-and-run victim.
"This is what this man took from us. We waited two years for our son to finally come home and now he's coming home and not in that way," said Pagan. "I don't know how I'm going to survive or make it through this."
Pagan says Derek was attending the life in color music event over the weekend. She believes he lost touch with a friend and decided to walk back to the hotel alone.
At 2:30 Sunday morning Austin police say they got a call that Derek's body was in the southbound lanes of U.S. 183 near Highway 71. The driver didn't stop.
"How could you let my son lie there knowing other cars were going to come behind and just keep going over him," said Pagan. "How can you live with yourself?"
Lt. Keith Suitt says they don't have much to go on as there weren't any witnesses.
"There was some evidence that was left at the scene by the suspect vehicle that we'll be able to match up with the likely suspect but we need the public's help in identifying that vehicle to us," said Suitt.
Suitt says his officers want to hear from body shops that notice damage in the next few days that's inconsistent with a driver's story unless a guilty conscience strikes first. Pagan is hoping for that.
"He was a son, he was a brother, he was an uncle and he was somebody who was just loved by everyone. Everyone loved him. Everyone looked up to him. Everyone could count on him. He was special," she said.
Sgt. Derek Pagan entered the military in April 2011 as a radio and communications security repairer. He was assigned to fort hood in 2013. He had just re-signed for two more years.
Pagan's awards and decorations include the Army Achievement Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon and Air Assault Badge.