Friends mourn loss of 23-year-old killed by hit-and-run driver in Downtown Detroit

Michael Cavanaugh fatally struck in front of friends


DETROIT – A driver accused of running down and killing a man in Downtown Detroit is in police custody Monday, but family and friends of the victim said it does little to ease their pain.

UPDATE: Inkster man charged in hit-and-run that killed Taylor man in downtown Detroit

A group of friends was trying to cross Jefferson Avenue on Sunday. They had the green light, but police said a  driver came flying down the street, hitting and killing Michael Cavanaugh, 23, in front of his friends.

Cavanaugh's friends gathered Monday at one of his favorite skate parks in Hamtramck to honor his memory. His friends called him "Socks."

"He wore some long tube socks," said Shane Cousins, who witnessed the incident.

"It's hard, but we're all here together," said Earl Demske, Cavanaugh's friend. "We're all celebrating his life. We're not mourning his death."

Cavanaugh and his friends were leaving the Motor City Muscle Music Festival late Sunday night.

"You took my brother from all of us," Cousins said.

Cousins said they were in the crosswalk when the car struck his friend.

"He waited for the signal and started to walk and the guy came flying through about 70 mph," Cousins said.

The impact propelled Cavanaugh into the air, and Cousins rushed to his side.

"I ran straight to him," Cousins said. "I told him, 'Socks, man, come on man. Get up.'"

But Cavanaugh was pronounced dead at the scene.

The driver never slowed down.

"This coward left," Cavanaugh said.

"I don't understand how you can hit something and not stop," Demske said.

The driver eventually turned himself in to Detroit police more than 12 hours after the incident. Cavanaugh's friends said they wonder if the driver wanted to sober up first.

Cavanaugh's friends said they're skating to ease the pain.

"He's here, right now, with every single one of us," Demske said.

The driver is a 29-year-old who will likely be arraigned on several charges sometime this week, officials said.

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