TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Matthew Bono texted his friend at 2:02 p.m. Saturday to say he was running late. Minutes later, a truck hit him in a crosswalk.
"I just don't know if I would have texted him back would he have stopped and looked at his phone," says Matthew's friend Meredith Madril.
The accident happened at Speedway and Richey Boulevards. Tucson police tell KGUN9 that 74-year-old Edward George was driving eastbound on Speedway Blvd. when he hit Bono who was walking southbound in the crosswalk.
Police and paramedics responded to the scene and shut down part of the road. Once on scene, they found Bono with serious injuries.
Sgt. Maria Hawke with TPD says Bono died on scene.
George was driving a 1977 half-ton pickup truck. Initially, George didn't stop, but witnesses followed the truck and got his attention.
George then turned around and came back to the scene, Hawke said.
Police say George may have been under the influence of alcohol when he hit Bono, and officers arrested George for second degree murder. He was released Sunday morning to pre-trial services.
Bono is the 15th pedestrian killed this year, but his loved ones don't want him to be just another number.
"He just brightened everybody's day," says Matthew's friend and former co-worker Pegah Abbasian.
In fact, 9 On Your Side received an overwhelming amount of phone calls, emails and Facebook messages, sharing memories about Matthew.
Those closest to him want the community to remember him for how he lived, not how he died, and his friends say his best qualities were his humor and his positive attitude.
"He just always kept this bright attitude toward everything," says Madril.
Matthew worked at Sir Vezas Taco Garage, and his friends describe him as a "free spirit."
His friends say Matthew had a tough life, but his resilience inspired many.
"[He's] a testimonial to someone who hasn't had the easiest life in this country, but has turned it into a positive," says Rev. Victor Chavez, Matthew's spiritual mentor.
"Even though you can have so many things going against you in life he lived every day like it was the last," says Matthew's friend from middle school James Madril. "He always enjoyed his time and how he was able to spread his laughter. It's a shame that we're missing that kind of person on this earth now.