Deputies with the Chisago County Sheriff's Office are investigating a crash that left a 21-year-old Rush City man dead two days after Christmas.
Investigators say the crash was reported at 8:18 p.m. on Thursday night on northbound Fairfield Avenue, just north of Rush City High School.
Officials say 24-year-old Korey Sybrant, also of Rush City, was driving a 2001 Silver Oldsmobile Alero when he struck a man lying in the middle of the roadway, stopped and immediately called 911 to report the crash.
A second witness also stopped and attempted to provide first aid until the Lakes region EMS arrived at the scene; however, the victim died before he could be transported for care.
Police have identified the victim as 21-year-old Matthew Jacob Heath.
The case is still under investigation, and authorities say Sybrant is cooperating fully.
Officials did not disclose why Heath was in the road at the time, but family and friends told FOX 9 News they believe Heath was already badly injured by the time he was struck by the car.
Multiple sources told FOX 9 News Heath was speaking to his girlfriend on his cell phone just before the crash. They lost contact for a few moments but he told her he was injured and needed help before the line went silent.
Many questions surround the death, and devastated loved ones told FOX 9 News they simply want to know the truth.
"It's like we're in 'CSI, and we have to find what happened to our loved one,'" said Heath's friend, Jo Brown. "There's no way to heal and be at peace and move forward when there is a mystery surrounding death."
Rumors are circulating about the town as the community struggles to understand what put Heath in the road -- perhaps a hit-and-run, a fall on the dark icy road, or some other altercation. So far, investigators have only said that alcohol was a contributing factor.
A funeral for Heath is set for Thursday at 3 p.m. at Calvary Lutheran Church. Visitation will be held an hour beforehand.