Vietnam veteran Otis T. Nash thought he was fine after the car he was riding in was struck by a hit-and-run driver last week in Kansas City.
“He wanted to go home to his wife,” said his nephew, Christopher Jones. “He’s got that soldier mentality.”
The hospital released Nash, 61, but the next afternoon, relatives couldn’t rouse him. He had vomited in his sleep. He died early Sunday at another hospital.
Jones said his uncle suffered a head injury, a collapsed lung and internal bleeding.
On Thursday, police asked for the public’s help to find the hit-and-run driver who ran a red light and caused the T-bone wreck about 9:25 p.m. Sept. 28 on 35th Street at Emanuel Cleaver II Boulevard. Nash had been riding in the back seat. His sister was driving and her boyfriend was in the front passenger seat. They were returning from visiting a friend and going to a store, Jones said.
The impact knocked all three of them unconscious. When the driver came to, she didn’t know what had happened, Jones said.
“She was very upset and frantic after the wreck,” Jones said.
In the chaos, someone apparently stole items from the wrecked car, a witness told police. The occupants later reported a missing cellphone and wallet.
Nash grew up in Arkansas, served in the Coast Guard and worked as a handyman, Jones said. He loved to sing. But he didn’t like to drive, so his sister or other relatives would drive Nash around.
“We weren’t expecting to say goodbye this soon,” Jones said, adding that Nash had two adult daughters and five grandchildren.
Jones said they were glad that Nash’s liver and kidneys were donated to recipients who are doing very well.
“That’s a blessing for them,” Jones said.
The hit-and-run vehicle was described as an older-model sedan, possibly rust-colored and probably with a metal front bumper that suffered front-end damage.
Anyone with information should call the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-TIPS (8477).