MINT HILL, N.C. -- A 23-year-old Mint Hill man was struck and killed by a driver who may have been behind the wheel of a stolen van that was later found abandoned and burned.
Jeffrey Hardin was killed early Thursday morning when he was hit by a vehicle as he was walking in the 6300 block of Lebanon Road.
Police later found an abandoned maroon Chevy Venture that was left burning in a wooded area off Albemarle Road not far from the hit-and-run.
That van was reported stolen from the parking lot of a Walmart on Albemarle Road in Charlotte.
Lt. John Rowell with the Mint Hill Police Department said police are not ruling out that the stolen van was the vehicle that struck Hardin.
"We're not ready to draw any conclusions yet. We do have detectives working on that incident also," Rowell said.
Hardin lived with his parents at their home near where he was killed.
"It's just sad. I mean he was only 23 years old," said his father, Charles Hardin.
The elder Hardin said his son had gone to a party last night and had checked in before he started walking home.
"He called me at 1:30 and said he was on his way back and I told him that was fine and I'd be waiting up for him and he never showed up," said the father.
Jeffrey Hardin had a young daughter and was trying to go back to school and get a career going so he could take good care of her.
It was a dream stolen by someone who cut a life short and never stopped.
"If they had just called he might have still been alive today but they just hit him and left," said his father.
If anyone knows anything about the theft of the van or the accident, call Mint Hill Police at 704-545-1085.