CHICAGO (CBS) — Police were searching for the hit-and-run driver who struck and killed a man in the Gage Park neighborhood early Tuesday.

A witness said 28-year-old Lee Kline stepped into the street at Garfield and Oakley around 2:45 a.m., possibly to check for a bus, when a passing car struck him at high speed and just kept going.

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The sound of the impact was so loud, some neighbors thought two cars had collided. The force was so intense, Kline was knocked out of both of his shoes.

Lee Kline (Family Photo)

Naphtali Dukes saw the crash from a distance and immediately ran down the block to help the victim, who turned out to be his friend.

“I hurried up and ran down here. He was on the ground, gasping for his last breath,” Dukes said. “I was trying to talk to him, keep him woken, keep him conscious, and I called 911 … and they came and they flipped him over. He wasn’t looking so good.”

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Kline was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital in critical condition. Despite the efforts of the emergency room doctors at the Level 1 trauma center, father of two was pronounced dead.

His mother said he might have been the victim of out-of-control drag racers.

“He was loved by everybody; his friends, his cousins. He was well-loved,” Annetta Kline said.

Police have not confirmed if the driver responsible was drag racing. No one was in custody Tuesday morning.

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Investigators were checking to see if there were any nearby surveillance cameras that might have recorded the crash.