Son of hit-and-run victim wants change at intersection: ‘They need to look into it’

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For the first time, the son of Thursday’s hit-and-run victim is speaking out after his father was killed on one of his daily walks in northeast Fresno. He is not only grieving, but demanding city leaders take a closer look at the intersection.

Ram Bhatia, 70, died after being hit by a car Thursday while in the crosswalk on Friant Road at Copper River Drive. In a press conference Friday, Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer said Matthew Chenot, 25, has been arrested as the suspect in the case.

Chenot is being charged with felony DUI, felony hit-and-run and gross vehicular manslaughter.

Family and friends of Bhatia gathered at a corner at the intersection Saturday night. After laying his picture and flowers on the sidewalk, they each stuck candles next to the display.

Mitin Bhatia, Ram Bhatia’s son, said he’ll always remember his father’s commitment to being healthy.

“He was a 70-year-old, healthy, he could run faster than me any day,” he said.

However, it’s also why his father’s death hurts so much.

“I had a hard time dealing with this [because] this happened on a walk he does every day [for the last couple of years],” he said.

Since his father’s death, Mitin Bhatia has been taking a closer look at the intersection. He’s concerned with the low visibility in the intersection at night, he’s also noticed a streetlight repeatedly turns on and off.

He’s urging city leaders to come and take a critical look, too.

“For them it might just be an accident, but for me it’s a tragedy. My dad did not come home,” he said.

Especially since his dad wasn’t the first one to die at that intersection. So, he’s open to anything to save a life.

“There has to be some technology,” he said.

Another message Mitin Bhatia has about his father’s death: don’t drink and drive. He said there’s too many rideshare options for that to still happen.

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