Someone out there knows what happened on a darkened country road Friday night when a man was struck and left for dead and the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department is hoping morality will prevail and someone will come forward with information about the tragic encounter.
The sheriff’s department is investigating the death of 35-year-old Donnie Coyle, Jr. The Keyes resident was found deceased Friday night on Keyes Road, near the intersection of Carpenter Road.
The California Highway Patrol believes Coyle must have been in the northbound direction crossing Keyes when he was hit by an unknown vehicle.
Based on evidence at the scene, the vehicle was likely traveling westbound on Keyes, east of Coyle, the CHP reported.
The front of the vehicle struck Coyle and the impact threw him approximately 275 feet, according to the CHP.
Investigators said the vehicle fled the area.
An individual driving on Keyes Road spotted Coyle’s body alongside the right shoulder of the road. The person called 911 and emergency personnel were dispatched to the scene. Coyle was pronounced dead at the scene at 10:34 p.m.
Coyle’s death has not only raised questions for law enforcement, but has also perplexed his family, as they wonder why Coyle was found out there and why their pleas to have his mental state evaluated went largely unanswered.
“I just want some answers about what happened and why wasn’t he given any help,” said Coyle’s wife, Shawntay Coyle.
Shawntay Coyle said her husband’s behavior had changed recently and that he was “not in his right state of mind.” She said the change had caused her to move out of the couple’s home.
“He was a wonderful man who had lost his way,” she said.
Shawntay Coyle said she and other family members called the sheriff’s department on Friday to request a welfare check be done on Coyle.
Around 8 p.m. Friday, Shawntay Coyle said she received a call from a sheriff’s deputy who had past encounters with Coyle.
“He asked me, ‘What’s going on with Donnie now?’ and I told him that he was not in his right mind and things were getting worse,” Shawntay Coyle said.
According to Shawntay Coyle, the deputy told her he didn’t think Coyle posed a threat to himself or others.
“A couple of hours later they’re at my doorstep telling me Donnie is dead,” Shawntay Coyle said.
The family also is confused as to how Coyle ended up on Keyes Road. The place he was found is about nine miles from his home and three miles from a relative’s house. Shawntay Coyle said he was at his home around 8 p.m. and that a cousin of Coyle’s drove down that same road around 9:30 p.m. and didn’t see him.
Shawntay Coyle and other family members went to visit the site over the weekend to place a memorial cross, but had trouble locating where his body was found.
“We found some broken pieces from a (vehicle’s) grill and handed them over to the coroner,” Shawntay Coyle said. “But we couldn’t find anything else — no skid marks or anything. Something is not right.”
In addition to his wife, Coyle leaves behind his mother and four daughters, ages 16 years to 7 years, and a 13-year-old stepson.
In the past Coyle had been an active member of the Keyes Assembly of God Church, helping organize fundraising car washes. The church will be holding a candlelight vigil and benefit to help the family with funeral expenses at 6 p.m. Friday at the church at 5450 7th St. in Keyes. Services are set for 11 a.m. March 7 at the church, with the burial to follow at Ceres Memorial Park.
Anyone with information about Coyle’s death is asked to contact Crime Stoppers at 521-4636 or www.stancrimetips.org, or text tips to CRIMES (274637) by typing "Tip704" plus a message. Callers to Crime Stoppers can remain anonymous and are eligible for a reward.