Family of Nogales firefighter say their final goodbyes

Family of Nogales firefighter say their final goodbyes

CREATED Jul 1, 2012

Reporter: Valerie Cavazos

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) -- A disturbing crime could soon end the life of a beloved Nogales firefighter. The family is hoping the public can help find the driver who ran over their son.

"He was always there no matter what," said firefighter and friend Kevin Chaffee. He said Sterling Lytle always worked to give back to the community. Being a firefighter was his dream job and he landed his first full time firefighting position in November. KGUN9 asked Chaffee if he was a good friend. "Very good. He's like my younger brother." With tears welling up in his eyes, it was a difficult moment for Chaffee, who is coming to grips with losing his best friend.

He said, "This is his mom's only child and she's losing her only son to this tragic event." A hit and run that happened on Alvernon and Lee at around 2:40 Thursday morning.

Police say Lytle and another Nogales city firefighter pulled over into a parking lot after a vehicle behind them began flashing its lights and honking its horn. Lytle got out of the car to speak to the driver, but the driver ran him over and drove off. The mayor of Nogales, Arturo Garino, is now looking for the public's help. "I can't even imagine what thoughts went across his mind to do that, but it looks very intentional and we need to get to the bottom of this," said Garino. He said the city of Nogales is a very tight knit community and they are doing what they can to help the Tucson Police Department find the driver.

The mayor says Lytle and the other firefighter had left a graduation ceremony near Starr Pass Road earlier that evening and he believes they made a few stops throughout the night. "If anyone saw anything, we're asking them to help us out," said Garino.

As the 25-year-old Catalina High School graduate continues to cling to life, Chaffee says his family is preparing to help their son give back to the community one last time - by donating his organs. "This last gesture from his family is another way he's going to give back. Hopefully he will save someone's life even in his death."

Chaffee says the family might take Lytle off of life support as early as Monday morning. The said an autopsy will be performed because of the nature of the crime. As for possible leads, Tucson police told KGUN9 that they are looking for a Chevy Avalanche or Chevy Silverado with visible damage to the front end.

If anyone has any information, call 9-1-1 or 88-crime. A $20,000 reward is being offered for information leading to an arrest.