Man, 25, struck and killed in West Greenwich while saving friend

Investigators said Daniel Cornell, 25, of Coventry, died at Rhode Island Hospital. (Family photo)

West Greenwich police said Monday that a Jeep struck and killed a pedestrian crossing a road. A second pedestrian was also injured.

Police said two men were hit Dec. 5 at about 4:40 p.m. as they tried to cross Route 102. Authorities said they were struck by a dark-colored Jeep in the southbound lane.

Investigators said Daniel Cornell, 25, of Coventry, died at Rhode Island Hospital. David Pulaski, 41, of Pawtucket, landed in a grassy area and survived.

David’s sister, Austin Matteson, said her brother was a joy to be around.

“He was the life of the party," Matteson said. "He always had a funny spin on things.”

Daniel’s mother, Janet Cornell, spoke with Pulaski at the hospital and said her son saved Pulaski’s life.

“His statement was, 'I didn't see the car at all. It came out of nowhere fast. I didn't see it at all. Daniel yelled, "Watch out," and pushed me. And his words were, "I went to the right, but Daniel went to the left,"" Cornell said.

Police said the Jeep's driver stopped and was cooperative. No charges were filed against the driver, whom police have not identified by said is a woman.

Investigators said weather conditions were poor and that it was very dark in the area where the men were struck.

“Nothing at the scene proved or showed that she was impaired at any time. She provided a written statement (and) has been cooperative to this day,” said Capt. Craig Barone.

Barone said police are checking the driver's phone to see if she was distracted at the time and said the investigation is not over.

Daniel's mother and sister told NBC 10 News while they understand that accidents happen, they still have many questions about the investigation.

“It just seems like the police believed it to just be open and shut. But there (were) no details looked into,” Matteson said. “They said speed wasn't a factor because there wasn't that much damage to the Jeep. My brother weighed a little bit more than I do. I'm a little over 100 pounds, so it would kind of make sense that he wouldn't cause as much damage as a heavier person.”

His mother is also puzzled as to why there were no skid marks on the road.

“No skid marks -- nothing that indicates there's an attempt to stop abruptly, especially on a rainy night if you're not sure if you hit something,” Cornell said.

She said she’s not surprised to hear that Daniel was thinking of protecting his friend in his final moments.

“He was just a very kind soul, very non-judgmental, everybody's worthy to Daniel,” she Cornell said.

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