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‘We need to know what happened’: Daughter of 85-year-old Yarmouth man killed in hit-and-run crash begs driver to come forward

Alexander Gribko, 85, was killed in an apparent hit and run crash Tuesday morning in Yarmouth.Melinda Gribko-Reyes

A daughter of an 85-year-old man struck and killed in an apparent hit-and-run crash while out on his morning walk Tuesday is pleading for the driver responsible for her father’s death to come forward.

“How would it feel to have your family member was just left on the side of the road?” Melinda Gribko-Reyes, said in a phone interview Wednesday. “We don’t have any ill will towards that person, but we need to know what happened. And we need an apology and we need closure. My dad was 85. But that doesn’t mean his life was any less valuable.”

Alexander Gribko of Yarmouth was found unresponsive on Winslow Gray Road around 7:30 a.m. by an officer of the town’s Department of Natural Resources, police said. He was pronounced dead on the scene.

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Gribko-Reyes, the youngest of his three daughters, said her father led an active life, taking long walks twice a day, making him a familiar sight along roads and pathways in the Cape Cod town.

“He had a joke for everybody,” she said. “There’s not anybody on Cape Cod that probably doesn’t know a joke from my father. And they weren’t always good. But it made him laugh.”

Gribko’s family was in Yarmouth Wednesday preparing for his funeral. They are devastated, Gribko-Reyes said, and need to know the circumstances of his death .

“Say a prayer that they can find the person so we can just say, ‘okay, accidents happen,’” she said. “They just need to tell us what happened.”

A Yarmouth police dispatcher confirmed Wednesday evening that no arrests have been made in connection with the crash. The department said on Facebook that the involved vehicle likely has front end damage.

Gribko-Reyes remembered her father as a loving man who frequented local tennis courts and spent much of his life traveling the world, often aboard his sailboat, “Fantasy.” He was a grandfather of seven and great-grandfather of two. His wife, Janet, died in 2012.

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Alexander Gribko with three of his granddaughters.Family photo


A determined man with a penchant for physical fitness, Gribko took walks twice a day to stay in shape. Just last week, he had boasted to his family of a recent visit to the cardiologist.

“The doctor said I’ll live to be 100,” Gribko-Reyes, his youngest daughter, recalled him saying.

“I think the only consolation we found today was that he was doing what he loved when he died, even though it was so tragic,” she said. “I guess that’s the only thing you can hope for if you have to find something that’s good out of something so horrible.”

His best friend and dedicated walking partner in his later years was a poodle mix named Scooter that he had gotten with Janet. The dog died three weeks ago, and Gribko was devastated. But he continued to walk.

He has always been determined to defy his age, Gribko-Reyes said, learning the ropes of e-mail and Facebook, trying to clean his own gutters, and offering to help with his family’s yard work.

“He was probably the youngest 85 anyone has ever met,” she said. “It doesn’t feel real that this could happen to him.”


Andrew Brinker can be reached at andrew.brinker@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter at @andrewnbrinker.