Family and friends of Rockford motorcyclist killed in hit-and-run demand justice

Local News

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) – A motorcyclist is dead after a hit-and-run Sunday morning at the intersection of Montague and Rose Avenue. While the police have not released the victim’s name, his family said the driver of the motorcycle was Mike Sowl.

Sowl’s family and friends are now pleading with the driver for answers, wanting to know why they would leave the father of three lying in the street.

James Rigstad, a friend of the victim, said he does not understand why his friend is gone.

“That is what I’ve got to say, do the right thing. I am not threatening nobody, I am not doing nothing, do the right thing. You know what you need to do,” Rigstad said. “There is never going to be another replacement, and you took that from us in 10 seconds and ran, and will not even tell us why, or let us know why you would even do that to him.”

Rigstad said that Sowl died after someone hut his motorcycle early Sunday morning. Surveillance video from near Montague and Rose Avenue shows the moments after the crash.

Sowl’s friends and family said that he died doing the thing that he loved the most, and that riding to him was “everything, everything. He would ride that bike in the winter.”

Rigstad said that Sowl, who went by the nickname “Cuba,” was a friend to everyone he met.

“He was just everything good that you want in a friend,” Rigstad said. “I mean, what else can you really say. Loyal, kind, caring, giving, like fearless, brave.”

Now, family and friends are begging the driver to come forward.

“Come sit down with her, and tell her why you did what you did,” Rigstad said.

“Why did you take my son?” Rigstad’s mother added.

“You see that? Do the right thing,” said Rigstad.

They said that they want justice for Sowl, and that they will never understand why someone would leave the scene.

“Why does she have to lose a son, why do we have to lose a brother, a cousin, an uncle, why are we losing this because of someone else’s decision,” Rigstad said. “Why did you run? Do the right thing, man.”

A candlelight vigil will be held Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. at the scene of the crash. The family is asking anyone to come, and to bring blue balloons for Sowl.

Rigstad has set up a GoFundMe to pay for Sowl’s funeral expenses.

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