Elderly Hemet resident struck on way ‘to get a beer’
■ By Taj Shorter / City Reporter
On Sunday evening, July 22, a deadly hit and run killed a Hemet resident as he drove his scooter from a Florida Avenue liquor store where he went to get a beer. The driver of the vehicle fled the scene but was arrested later by police. Officers said they suspected the driver was highly intoxicated.
When Hemet Police and Fire arrived, they discovered the body of Ray Billings Jr., 64, dead in the street after being mangled apparently by the car that had run over him.
According to witness reports, Billings was leaving Chip’s Liquor, 1207 W. Florida Ave., on his mobility scooter when he was hit by a dark sedan. When the driver fled the scene, a good Samaritan and his wife gave chase in their own vehicle and were able to update police as they tailed the culprit.
The pursuers followed the vehicle for blocks until the driver abandoned his vehicle near the 2200 block of W. Devonshire Avenue and proceeded to flee on foot. Cops were not far behind, and with the help of other good Samaritans who identified the suspect, they ultimately were able to make an arrest. The man was visibly intoxicated according to those who chased him.
The vehicle involved in the incident was “really demolished…all the way to the dashboard,” said the man who pursued him.. “There was blood everywhere” and reportedly body parts stuck to the front of the vehicle, which had pieces missing such as the bumper and front tire.
Another eyewitness reported that Billings’ scooter “got stuck on the car and he was dragged about 30 feet and his body separated.” The witness indicated on his own body below his torso where the victim was ripped in half.
A friend of the victim named Jeri Young gave her distraught testimony on the night of the incident referring to him as “Ray.”
“He wanted to go get himself a beer and so he said he’d be right back and he went on his scooter,” sobbed Young, “and he was taking a long time.”
According to a press release from the Hemet Police Department, the driver was identified as Eugene Pamilton Jr. who was believed to be under the influence of alcohol. On the night of the incident, Pamilton. was reportedly driving at a high rate of speed down Florida Ave when he struck the victim on his scooter. He was arrested for gross vehicular manslaughter, felony hit and run, felony DUI, and for an outstanding parole warrant.
Hemet PD is actively investigating the incident.