|Messenger photo by Dianne Garrett
|Co-workers of Paul’s Restaurant in Whitehall, from left, Alice Linville, Laura Fritz, owner Chip Gregory and Hollie Fetherolf, gather around a donation box with a photo of employee Andy Gonzalez, who was killed by a hit-skip driver in the early morning hours of Sept. 2, while riding his bicycle to work. Monetary donations are being accepted at the restaurant to help the family with funeral expenses. Gonzalez was married with one child and one on the way.
The employees of Paul’s Restaurant in Whitehall arrived at work the morning of Sept. 2 to tragic news. Andres "Andy" Gonzalez, who had cooked at the Broad Street eatery for eight years, had been killed in a hit-and-run accident while bicycling to work.
According to the Columbus Division of Police report, Gonzalez, 32, of Whitehall, was riding his bicycle eastbound on Main Street on the bridge over I-270 East in the eastbound lanes. An unknown vehicle struck him, and continued without stopping. He was pronounced dead at the scene at 3:28 a.m.
The restaurant’s owner, Chip Gregory, said that Gonzalez was on his way to work when the accident happened. He worked both day and night shifts.
"Andy was an outstanding employee, dependable, reliable and personable. He took pride in his work, was conscientious and clean. He was actually a lot of fun," Gregory said.
Gregory added that Gonzalez was part of the Paul’s family, and well-liked. "We have a dedicated, long-term staff, and he was right in the middle of that. Paul’s is a family restaurant in more ways than one." noted the owner.
The restaurant, at 4545 E. Broad St., has been a popular fixture in the community for 24 years, and its patrons are part of that family.
Fellow employees and customers are dropping money into a collection box to help offset funeral expenses for his family. He leaves behind a pregnant wife, Summer, and a son, Charlie, 1-1/2.
Server Laura Fritz is a former girlfriend of Gonzalez who has remained a close friend. She shared that Charlie was his daddy’s heart, and she prays that her friend is at peace.
Server Alice Linville called him a wonderful person who was always smiling.
Fellow cook Hollie Fetherolf summed it up saying, "He made us glad to come to work every day."
If anyone has any information about the crash, contact the Columbus Police Accident Investigation Unit at 645-4767.