A split-second decision by a driver in downtown Nashville changed lives forever for a family miles away.
Phillip Radican, the man who died when he was struck while resting on a sidewalk bench, had a daughter who now says something needs to change.
Police said Radican died after the driver of a Toyota Camry ran a red light at Church Street and 7th Avenue North and crashed into a Honda Accord. The force of the crash caused the Camry to jump the curb and strike the bench.
Though the man was homeless, police found a phone number in his pocket that led to his daughter in Indianapolis.
"It's very unfortunate that, out of all the bad choices that he made in his life, the one innocent one that he made, he had a seat there on that bench that day. And that, ultimately, ended his life," daughter Laura Radican said.
Laura Radican wants her father to be remembered as more than just another member of Nashville's homeless community.
She says he was generous, loving and working to turn his life around.
"He was even a couple weeks away from having permanent housing. He was very close to finding a job. So he was very close to getting his life together," she said.
Laura Radican said her father didn't do anything wrong and that the driver that caused the accident needs to be held responsible.
"It's not like my dad jumped out in front of a vehicle or crossed the street when he shouldn't have. He was just sitting there minding his own business and this car decides to run a red light," she said.
For now, the driver who caused the wreck, 23-year-old Mina Wahba, of Nashville, has only been cited with driving without insurance, leaving little closure for their family.
Any further charges are pending a review by the district attorney's office.
"Unfortunately, my dad didn't have any kind of insurance, and this has been a huge financial and emotional strain, just to get his body home. And we can't even turn to the person who's fault it was for the accident," Laura Radican said.
Metro police spokesman Don Aaron said many of the officers who patrol downtown knew Phillip Radican. One officer recalled enjoying a
talk with Radican while driving him to a convenience market during a recent
cold snap to get coffee.
"Phillip tugged at your heart strings by his very nature," said friend Randall Morgan. "The one thing that pervaded every conversation was a story of some sort, so you got to see a glimpse into a life that was rich in a lot of ways that I'm sure a lot of us don't get to experience."
Morgan runs his architecture firm from the ground floor office overlooking the bench where Phillip Radican died.
"I think everyone has a story, and I think when we slow down and listen to people's story, we can really figure out who they are and who we are," Morgan said.
Radican's family is still struggling to get enough money together to fly Phillip Radican's body home, but his daughter said they would like to thank his friends in Nashville who were helping him get his life back on track.
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