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Bibb coroner launches fund to cremate homeless man killed in crash on I-16 on-ramp

This homeless man who as hit by a car Friday died Sunday at the Medical Center, Navicent Health. He was identified Monday as 75-year-old Arthur Panish, who has ties to New York.
This homeless man who as hit by a car Friday died Sunday at the Medical Center, Navicent Health. He was identified Monday as 75-year-old Arthur Panish, who has ties to New York. lfabian@macon.com

As authorities work to find family members of a homeless man killed in a Macon crash, a fund has been established for his cremation.

Bibb County Coroner Leon Jones identified the man as 75-year-old Arthur Panish, although he was first identified as Arthur Pinish.

Authorities used his fingerprints to identify him Monday, a day after he died at Medical Center, Navicent Health.

Panish, who was a familiar sight for those traveling around Gray Highway and Interstate 16, was hit by a Honda Civic as he crossed the entrance ramp at North Avenue Friday night.

Jones is seeking to bypass the "long, drawn-out process" required to get the Department of Family and Children Services to pay for a pauper's funeral expenses.

The county is paying $100 a day to store the body, and Jones is hoping to reduce that cost by expediting the process.

Jones is seeking a court order for permission to cremate Panish and is hoping to raise enough money for the cremation at Hart's Mortuary.

Checks and money orders for the cremation fund can be sent to Leon Jones, Bibb County Coroner's Office, at 111 Third St., Macon, GA, 31211.

Panish lived along the banks of the Ocmulgee River but refused help when people offered him meals or clothing and instead found food in garbage cans and trash bins around the Baconsfield area.

Jones plans to store his ashes with the unclaimed remains of 148 people he keeps in storage.

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