Reward offered for information in Renton man’s hit-and-run death

Daren Dougan was just a half-mile from home on June 26 when a SUV pulled in front of his Harley-Davidson on Talbot Road South, causing a collision that would eventually lead to his death.

Daren Dougan was just a half-mile from home on June 26 when a SUV pulled in front of his Harley-Davidson on Talbot Road South, causing a collision that would eventually lead to his death.

The driver of the SUV fled the scene; several vehicles drove around Dougan as he lay on the ground. One motorist finally called for help.

Renton police want to talk to anyone driving on that stretch of Talbot Road near 45th Place South at about 11 p.m. who has information about the light-colored SUV that drove off west on 45th Place.

So far, Renton police have heard nothing. Family and friends aren’t accepting that silence.

One of Dougan’s co-workers, Melinda Sheridan, who worked with Dougan at Mor Furniture for Less in Kent, is setting up a reward fund. Crime Stoppers is offering a $1,000 award.

Through their grief, they

can’t help but wonder why someone would leave behind a critically injured man on the pavement.

“I think that is the most horrible thing a person can do,” said Sheridan, the Mor showroom manager.

“His family will not rest until we find them. And we will find them,” she said.

Technically, according to Dougan’s sister, Dana Townsend of Olympia, Dougan died on July 2, when he was removed from life support at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. He was surrounded by his family. A private family memorial service is planned.

According to Renton police, Dougan was southbound on Talbot Road, when the light-colored SUV turned in front of him. He braked but was unable to stop. The SUV should have damage to its right passenger side.

Dougan, a bachelor, celebrated his 40th birthday in March. He was the sales manager at the Mor store.

Townsend can’t understand why the driver of the SUV or those who drove by her brother didn’t stop. They all bear some responsibility for his death, she said.

“They are unbelievably inhumane,” she said. Those few moments possibly cost Dougan his life. His body was deprived of oxygen.

“Those are precious moments that we lost,” she said. “That is when we lost our brother.”

She appreciates efforts to offer a reward for information. But she struggles with the reasons why a reward is needed at all.

“What kind of society do we live in that requires money to do the right thing?” she asks.

Renton police have told Townsend that finding the driver could take time. Other drivers in similar situations have come forward, usually driven by guilt, she said.

Any other time, Dougan would not have been riding his beloved Harley that late at night, according to Townsend. He was waiting for a new BMW to arrive, so he was riding the motorcycle to and from work.

The BMW was delivered the day after he was hit by the SUV, she said.

Townsend said her brother “saved and saved” for his Harley. It’s now in evidence.

“We have no desire to lay eyes on it again,” she said.

Dougan’s father, Jim Dougan, lives in Redmond, Ore. His mother, Pam Ehlers, lives in Eugene, Ore. He has two half-sisters, Kaylee Asher and Lacee Cizek, both of whom live in Salem, Ore.

Family and friends remember Dougan as a man with a great sense of humor who always had a funny story to tell. He played Santa for his nephews and nieces. He’ll never meet his newest niece who is due any day, Townsend said.

And, he was musical, the vocalist and guitar player for the band, the TOGS, which stands for The Old Guys. He joined about a year ago and they just had their first paid gig, Townsend said, with three or four more lined up.

He was the youngest band member and tried, unsuccessfully, to get his bandmates to change the band’s name, she said.

The band is planning a concert in August in Dougan’s honor to benefit his favorite charity, the Seattle Union Gospel Mission, according to Townsend.

Last summer, Dougan went with a group of family and friends on a three-day cruise to Canada. That’s where he met Mike Brown, a detective with the county Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigations Division.

Brown, too, remembers a gregarious man.

“He was always smiling and laughing. He was a kick to be around,” he said.

With his police background, Brown knows that the legal situation for the driver of the SUV became “more serious” when he or she fled the scene. “Someone, somewhere knows who did it,” he said.

Sheridan, Dougan’s co-worker at Mor, has known Dougan for about nine years. If fact, he hired her for a job at the store’s Portland showroom. They became instant friends, she said, and when he left to work at other Mor stores, she took over his job in Portland.

Dougan worked in Tukwila, Spokane and in California. He became the sales manager of the Mor store in Kent when it opened in April 2005.

“He was well-liked by everyone,” Sheridan said. ‘He had a personality that drew people to him. He was always upbeat.”