UPDATE: South Bend hit-and-run turns fatal

 John R. Jurek
John R. Jurek (WNDU)
Published: Nov. 1, 2016 at 5:37 PM EDT
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UPDATE: The victim of a South Bend hit-and-run has died.

The St. Joseph County Coroner's Office confirms 84-year-old John R. Jurek died Saturday night.


An 84-year-old man remains in critical condition after being struck by a vehicle early Monday morning.

John R. Jurek was walking along Portage Avenue near Cleveland when he was hit. The vehicle in question fled the scene before police arrived.

Tuesday, there are still no suspects in custody; however, police are looking for a tan or cream-colored small-sized car. Officers say it likely has front-end damage on the passenger side, including windshield and hood damage.

Meantime, several community members are praying for a quick recovery for the beloved Notre Dame usher and dedicated blood donor.

In February 2011, Jurek was celebrated by team members at The Medical Foundation for reaching 55 gallons in blood donations. Jurek did not stop there; he has continued donating on a regular basis.

"Right now, he has done over 70 gallons, 572 donations actually," said Mary Ankrapp, Blood Donor Recruitment Supervisor, The Medical Foundation.

Jurek is The Medical Foundation's number one donor.

"It's amazing. I can't imagine the amount of lives his donations have impacted, and this was something he was so proud of," said Ankrapp.

As one of the foundation's first platelet donors, Ankrapp says he visits the foundation about every two weeks to make a donation.

"We asked him if he would be willing to be one of the beginners in the program with us, and he jumped on board and he's been donating faithfully for years," said Ankrapp.

Jurek even donated blood in early October.

"He just was here October 10th and made a donation, and was just his happy, jolly self and just so friendly and outgoing. The staff loved him; he's like family to us," said Ankrapp.

That's why staff members at the foundation were concerned, even before police identified Jurek.

"He was an avid walker and would always talk about his walk from his home on Portage, just off Portage, down to the Meijer's. He'd get a cup of coffee and then walk back, so our staff was very aware of that," said Ankrapp. "And then when the calls started coming in with confirmation, it was just heartbreaking to us."

The news of his accident is heartbreaking to his Medical Foundation family, and also to the Notre Dame Basketball program, where Jurek is a longtime usher at Purcell Pavilion.

In a statement, Head Basketball Coach Mike Brey said:
"The Notre Dame basketball program is saddened by the news of John's accident, and our thoughts and prayers go out to him and his family. The exhibition game tonight will not be the same without seeing John at is normal position protecting the tunnel to our locker room or signaling the band to strike up the victory march when we take the court. John is one of the many people that make Notre Dame special and we hope he will make a full recovery."

Police say Jurek was wearing a reflective vest at the time of the hit and run, which took place just before 7 a.m. Monday morning.

If you have any information that could help lead police to a suspect, you're asked to call the South Bend Police Department at 574-235-9201.