When Donald Leon Mundell's dog was struck by a Nissan Altima on Monday night, the Harmans man went to its aid in the middle of a busy Anne Arundel County roadway.
But as he knelt to pick up his injured pet, he, too, became a victim.
A dark, midsize car or sport utility vehicle struck and killed Mundell, then the driver fled the scene, according to Anne Arundel police.
As police ask for the public's help in locating the driver -- witnesses said the motorist might have been driving a Ford Explorer -- Mundell's family mourned his loss.
"He loved it so much," his sister Frances Brown said of the dog, which she believed was a pit bull terrier. "They died together."
Police were searching yesterday for the car that killed Mundell, 45, of the 7500 block of Saffron Court.
Mundell left his home Monday night to walk the dog, family members said. Mundell, who never got a driver's license, walked or rode his bike everywhere.
"He was very into being fit," Brown recalled. "He said, 'This dog's gaining weight, I need to take it out.'"
The dog got away from Mundell and ran into the intersection of Reece Road and Andorick Drive in Severn about 6:15 p.m., when it was struck, police said. The Nissan driver stopped to help Mundell, who ran into the street and was struck by another car, police said.
Mundell sustained serious head injuries and was pronounced dead at North Arundel Hospital, police said.
Mundell was the youngest of eight children, family members said.
Brown recalled his sense of humor, such as the time she turned him down for a small loan.
"But I'm your little brother," Mundell said pleadingly. "You used to change my diapers."
"I just started to laugh. I couldn't help it," Brown said.
Mundell had two children and an infant grandson, and was hoping to marry his longtime girlfriend, family members said. "He wanted to settle down," said Mable Fletcher, another sister.