Lakewood, NJ – A homeless Lakewood man who made nationwide headlines after agreeing to pour a cup of coffee on his head as part of a joke in exchange for $5 died this weekend after being hit by a car while walking on a busy township roadway.
Police said that Ronald Leggatt was walking in the left lane of Cedarbridge Avenue just west of Martin Luther King Drive at approximately 11 PM Friday night when he was struck by an eastbound pickup truck. The 36 year old driver of the 2008 Chevrolet Avalanche, a Jackson resident, called 911 and remained on scene.
Leggatt died just yards from the dugout of the Cedarbridge Avenue ball field where he used to sleep and had chosen not to walk on the sidewalk for unknown reasons.
The fatal crash took place a quarter of a mile from the Singin Oil gas station where Leggatt agreed to dump coffee on his head as part of a videotaped prank orchestrated in January 2016 by a Jewish young man who reportedly suffered from mental issues.
The man later apologized and gave Leggatt $20 and as word of the incident spread, another Orthodox Lakewood resident reached out to Leggatt, taking him on a shopping spree, buying him food and arranging lodging during an upcoming snowstorm, as previously reported on VIN News (http://bit.ly/2iBlq9c).
Pastor Steve Brigham who had known Leggatt for approximately ten years said that the 67 year old had worked as a jockey at Freehold Raceway and had never fully recovered from a head injury sustained during his racing career.
Since the 2016 coffee incident, Leggatt had been living at the Jewish owned New Lexington Manor residential facility in Lakewood, located one mile from the accident scene.
“He would leave there early every morning and come back to sleep there at night,” Pastor Brigham told VIN News. “He was a very positive person who had a lot of friends and was always so open and friendly. You couldn’t help but like him. It is a shame that he is gone.”
While Leggatt had been estranged from his relatives for some time because of his diminished mental capacity, Pastor Brigham said that funeral arrangements are being taken care of by the family, with services to be held in Freehold.
Pedestrian fatalities have been on the rise recently in Lakewood according to Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office spokesman Al Della Fave, with a three year old Lakewood girl dying tragically last week after riding her bike into the path of an oncoming car.
Della Fave urged drivers to be vigilant at all times for pedestrians in the roadway and to keep to posted speed limits. He also cautioned pedestrians to obey traffic signals and to cross only at crosswalks in order to prevent further tragedies.