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News Maryland Baltimore Crime Beat

Police search for driver in fatal hit-and-run

Detectives are searching for the driver of a white car that struck and killed a homeless man in North Baltimore early this month.

Joseph Blake, 32, was killed Oct. 4 while walking in the 200 block of West North Avenue at about 12:38 a.m. Grainy surveillance images show the vehicle police believe is responsible, but investigators say it's of too poor quality to identify the make or the model.

Called to the crash scene, paramedics tried to rescue Blake, but he was pronounced dead at an area hospital at 1:45 a.m. It took police a week to positively identify Blake and locate his relatives, who hope witnesses will come forward with information that could lead to the driver responsible.

"Joey loved life," his mother, Ellen Blake, said. "The last couple of times he said, 'Mom don't worry about me. I'm free. I'm enjoying my life. I'm doing what I want.'"

Joseph Blake's last known address was in the 3500 block of Clifton Ave. He suffered from mental disorders, his mother said.

He had spent about 10 months at the Carrington House, a residential substance abuse recovery program for homeless people that also offers job skills training, but left the program in recent months after he relapsed and abused alcohol. Over his last few weeks, Ellen Blake said, her son had been panhandling along North Avenue.

She said she last spoke to her son just hours before he was killed. In that conversation, he asked for the phone numbers of his brother and stepfather.

She said Joseph Blake was recognizable in the area where he was run down because he often hung out on the sidewalks and median, and she hoped someone will step forward with information.

"Maybe his friends will come forward," Ellen Blake said. "Maybe someone did see something and was horrified."

Detectives in Baltimore police's Accident Investigation Unit are investigating the death, and police are asking anyone with information to call 410-396-2606 or 2609.

jgeorge@baltsun.com

twitter.com/justingeorge

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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