By David Schuman

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A 65-year-old man who was preparing to get married for the first time was killed in a hit-and-run crash in Plymouth this week.

Greg Schneider’s fiancée, Kary, is now mourning.

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“She’s by herself now. It’s tough for her,” said Michael Ricci, one of Schneider’s close friends.

Schneider was the godfather to Ricci’s son. The two met in elementary school.

“He taught me how to drive manual transmission, which I loved and ended up buying cars with manual transmissions the rest of my life until recently,” Ricci said. “You never know what was going to happen. There was always a new thing to learn or explore for Greg.”

Schneider was a civil engineer and a pilot.

“We looked upon that as ‘I’m not going up with him!'” another friend, Don Collyard, said with a laugh. “But he was a great pilot and he logged his hours and went everywhere.”

Ricci says Schneider was also stationed in Germany with the U.S. Army for four years.

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“If you met him and he found out you needed something, he’d say ‘I got the afternoon. How can I help?'” Ricci said. “That’s the kind of guy he was.”

Schneider’s dog, Zilly, was killed in the crash too.

Schneider’s friends say he was in the best years of his life. He was recently retired.

Jack Blaschke, a 19-year-old from Delano, is charged in Schneider’s death with two counts of criminal vehicular homicide. According to police, Blaschke was going more than 70 miles per hour in a 45 miles per hour zone.

Blaschke told police he had been arrested for a DWI a few weeks before the crash.

“To lose one of your own like this, and to something senseless, it’s just extraordinary,” Collyard said.

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Ricci says remembering who Greg was is helping him get through this difficult time.

David Schuman