A man who was killed in a tragic hit-and-run is being remembered as a "devoted dad" and "generous, gentle giant."
Timmy Rakei was fatally struck by an out-of-control driver in a red Commodore around 7.15am on Tuesday in Melbourne's southeast.
The driver fled the scene after hitting two workers who were setting up road signage. Mr Rakei was pronounced dead at the scene and his co-worker was left severely injured.
Family members mourn his death
Mr Rakei's family have shared tributes online for the 44-year-old, describing him as a loving family member.
His niece Isobel Dayberg said she was "gutted" for Mr Rakei's whanau — the Maori word for extended family — saying he was "the kindest man and amazing uncle to my kids."
"Every person has the right to go to work and come home safe," she wrote on Facebook.
Mr Rakei's niece Honeyii Terehia Kepa said he was the "true definition of an uncle".
— Cassie Zervos (@cassiezervos) November 9, 2021
"All the memories from when we were little uncle all the outings all the love you gave me and my son gonna miss you so much," she said.
"Timmy was the sweetest, kindest bloke on the planet, funny, hard working, a devoted Dad and family man and exactly the sort of guy you want to marry into your family," another family member wrote online.
"Words can not describe the deep pain we are feeling at the moment," his grieving younger brother Kaydon wrote.
"He will be forever in our hearts and greatly missed."
Hit-and-run being investigated
Detective Acting Senior Sergeant Jarrod Dwyer told reporters on Tuesday that there is CCTV footage of the driver getting out of his vehicle, looking directly at the two victims and then running off.
The man then got into a nearby black Hyundai SUV, which drove towards officers when they tried to intercept it.
"It's just a callous, cold act," Det Act Sen Sgt Dwyer said on Tuesday.
"It's the act of a coward."
Det Act Sen Sgt Dwyer said the surviving victim was no longer in a critical condition but had suffered "life-changing injuries" and will remain in hospital for some time.
"He's got severe leg injuries. He's going to have an uphill battle in recovery," he told Melbourne radio 3AW on Wednesday.
Det Act Sen Sgt Dwyer confirmed to 3AW that police have not yet identified the driver, despite several tips being sent in from the public.
Anybody who sees the men or the black Hyundai is urged to call Triple-0.
WorkSafe has also confirmed it is investigating Mr Rakei's death.
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