Gulf War veteran killed by hit-and-run driver; police seek suspect

Credit: Kitsap County Sheriff's Office

Credit: Kitsap County Sheriff's Office

A family is pleading for answers after a car struck and killed a Gulf War Navy veteran who was walking against traffic in Washington state.

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Michael Keaton, 61, was on his daily walk in Port Orchard early Saturday morning when he was struck and killed by someone driving a 2016 Chevrolet Cruze, police said.

The Kitsap County Sheriff's Office said it is looking for Ali Rochelle Giannini, 29, who they say "was either the driver or knows something about what happened."

Deputies said Giannini is known to also go by the name of Brittney and her last known address was in Eatonville.

"Giannini has an outstanding no bail felony warrant out of the Thurston County Sheriff's Office for possession of methamphetamine and Oxycontin. There are additional misdemeanor warrants for her arrest on file as well," the Pierce County Sheriff's Department said Sunday.

Keaton, a retired naval officer, was on his six-days-a-week walk early Saturday morning, facing traffic and wearing a yellow safety vest.

"We're angry because we don't understand how someone could have done this to him," said Keaton’s daughter, Tawnie Ploe. "We're hurt.

"There is no reason that someone could say, 'Oh, I didn't see him,’ because everyone saw him," she said. "You couldn't miss him."

Surveillance video from a nearby pizza restaurant showed the suspect's vehicle drive by.

According to those who watched the entire video, it shows the vehicle coming straight for Keaton.

Keaton raised his arms and tried to get out of the way, but the vehicle struck him and kept going.

"So my dad took every precaution," Ploe said. "And still this person took my dad."

Now Keaton's daughter wants help finding Giannini.

"It's just an indescribable feeling to have someone torn from you in such a violent manner," Ploe said. "And to know the person who did this doesn't even have the common decency to call for help. Nothing could have been done. But make the call. Don't leave him lying there for half an hour."

Ploe said her father lost 100 pounds by walking on the roadway. He wanted to be around to watch his grandchildren grow up.

His death is affecting people on both sides of Puget Sound. Keaton worked as an IT analyst at Providence Renton Medical Center.