casper_truck.jpgFamily members and friends of a San Francisco attorney killed in a hit-and-run in Sonoma County last month issued a plea for information today in an effort to bring closure to what they called a tragic accident.

Donald Casper was jogging on the south shoulder of eastbound River Road west of Wilshire Drive on Aug. 14 around 7 p.m. when he was struck by a pickup truck. Witnesses said the truck slowed down, then fled east on River Road.

Casper, 63, vice president of the San Francisco Civil Service Commission, was pronounced dead at the scene by emergency providers.

A $12,500 reward was announced for information on the incident since then, and the California Highway Patrol has put hundreds of hours into the investigation, but the driver of the truck remains at large.

Family members and friends today said they believe the incident was almost certainly an accident, and pleaded for anyone with information on the truck or driver to contact the police.

Steve Leveroni, a lifelong friend who grew up with Casper in San Francisco’s North Beach, called Casper “part of the fabric of San Francisco.”

“We ask for you to apply compassion and common sense to this situation,” Leveroni said. “If you have information about this accident please come forward, it can lessen your burden and it will lessen ours.”

Casper was also hailed for his 11 years of service on San Francisco’s Civil Service Commission.

“Don Casper was beloved not only by his family but by his official family,” said Civil Service Commission President Dennis Normandy. “He was one of those rare individuals who was able to cross party lines and he will be sorely missed.”

Investigators believe the truck was a 2004 to 2008 Ford F-150 XLT or Lariat, possibly four-wheel drive, with four doors. It was white with a gold or tan stripe. A video camera at a winery near the accident caught the truck on film, but does not show the driver, said Officer Mike Phennicie, the chief investigator for the CHP.

Investigators think the truck might be hidden or parked in a garage. The CHP is asking the public to identify anyone who owns a similar truck and has suddenly stopped driving it. The truck might have right front-end damage.

Anyone with information can contact the CHP Santa Rosa Area at (707) 588-1400 or the CHP tip line at (707) 588-5023 ext. 238.

Sara Gaiser, Bay City News

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