Father of 10 Killed After Being Struck by Vehicle While Riding Bike: 'An Amazing Person in So Many Ways'

·3 min read
charles Criniere
charles Criniere

Go Fund Me

A Missouri family is mourning a father of 10 who was killed in a hit-and-run collision while riding his bicycle over the weekend.

According to NBC affiliate KSHB, Charles Criniere, a middle school math teacher and faith leader in his community, was riding his bike in Kansas City when he was hit by a vehicle around 6:15 on Saturday morning. The driver involved in the incident left the scene, and Criniere died a short time later, the outlet reported.

CBS affiliate KCTV reported on Monday that officers are looking for a white 2017-2020 Honda Acura MDX, which was reportedly last seen headed south on View High Drive with damage to its right front passenger door and grill.

Additional information about the crash has yet to be released, according to ABC affiliate KMCB-TV.

PEOPLE has reached out to the Kansas City Police Department for more information.

Friends of Criniere said that he regularly woke up early and spent time outside to prepare for the day ahead.

"He's an early-morning riser, so he gets up there, (at the) crack of dawn and spends some time alone," friend Ken DeBenedictis told KSHB. "(He) prays and bikes around the lake and gets his thoughts together before the day. It's part of his routine."

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Others who knew Criniere praised him and his wife for their generosity over the years.

"They're so giving, and they were living off a teacher's salary," Erika DeBenedictis told FOX affiliate WDAF. "Ten kids and they always gave, and I would look at him and be like, 'How are they giving so much?' But that's their heart, is to give to people."

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A GoFundMe campaign to help support Criniere's wife and their 10 children has raised
over $118,000 as of Monday afternoon. One of the largest contributions came from an anonymous donor who gave $20,000 to the family.

"Charles was an amazing person in so many ways and it's left a huge hole in the community," Pastor Athel Barnes from Grace Point Baptist Church told ABC affiliate KMBC. "He never did anything without love and just had incredible character."

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The pastor added that Criniere "had an amazing capacity to be able to wrap his arms around so many people at the same time — whether it was his nine children living at home or his church family or his extended family at the school."

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In a statement to KSHB, Martin City K8, where Criniere taught math, reminded students they could call a helpline to express their feelings following the tragedy.

"While the family undoubtedly continues to grieve, we share in their profound loss," the school said. "This heartbreaking tragedy reminds all of us how precious life is."