PLYMOUTH — Mickie Goodrich didn’t know Fred John Kleman Jr.
But like the 42-year-old man who died after an apparent road-rage incident earlier this month, Goodrich has been known to yell at motorists who speed in her borough neighborhood.
“I yell at people every single day, driving down my street like maniacs,” said Goodrich, who trekked from Eno Street to Nottingham Street on Saturday night to participate in a candlelight vigil for Kleman, who sustained fatal injuries after being struck by a car on Aug. 14.
Lorenzo Burgos Jr., 21, of 469 Third St., was arrested and charged with homicide by vehicle, involuntary manslaughter, recklessly endangering another person, reckless driving and careless driving causing unintentional death after he allegedly plowed a white Toyota into Kleman as he stood talking with friends in the 100 block of Nottingham Street. Police say Burgos admitted returning to the scene in anger after Kleman, apparently concerned for children playing in the area, had slapped the passing car and yelled at Burgos to slow down as he drove uphill minutes earlier. Burgos claims he never intended to run over Kleman, but lost control of the car, according to police.
Goodrich and her daughter joined at least two dozen people holding candles, many wearing red T-shirts reading “Fred said slow down,” a tribute to Kleman’s final act. The message also has been spray-painted in bright orange letters on the street near the spot where Burgos allegedly drove uphill before the incident.
On the other side of the street, where Kleman was struck, there is a small plastic bouquet, and more orange letters: “R.I.P. Dad 8/14/13.”
“He’d do anything for anyone,” Zachary Kleman, 21, said of his father.
That view was shared by Kleman’s longtime girlfriend, Cathy Huk, 55, who remembered her partner in life and business, a capable handyman she fondly recalled as “MacGyver,” in reference to the 1980s TV action show about a multi-talented secret agent.
“That was my pet name for him,” Huk said.
Burgos, meanwhile, remains in the Luzerne County Correctional Facility in lieu of $1 million bail.
Huk and those who gathered outside her Nottingham Street home, steps from where Kleman was struck, expressed outrage that Burgos isn’t facing more serious charges. But since talking with The Times Leader two days after Kleman’s death, Huk said, she has since been contacted by state police for the first time since the incident.
“They talked to me. They said it could take time,” she said with a sigh, referring to the ongoing investigation into Burgos’ alleged actions. She reiterated her vow to be present when Burgos appears in court, if possible.
Goodrich, meanwhile, said Kleman’s death only makes her more angry about speeding drivers, but more cautious in how she approaches them.
“Now I stay on the porch, with a baseball bat,” she said.