THE FAMILY of a man who died in a horror New Years Day car smash issued an emotional plea for the runaway driver to hand himself in.
Steff Sakatiuk, 34, was trapped in the front passenger seat when the silver Vauxhall Signum he was travelling in slammed into a tree and burst into flames.
Steff could not be saved and police are still hunting the unnamed driver who fled the scene at Fauldhouse in West Lothian.
Steff’s dad and two brothers, who stay in Livingston, released a heart-breaking statement calling for justice.
They said: “It is a terrible shock to the whole family, Stefan was a much loved son and brother, who especially loved his mum.
“We would like to be left alone to grieve and hope the driver does the right thing and hands himself in.
“Stefan will be dearly missed and we cannot believe that this has happened.”
Younger brother Liam, 29, also posted a moving tribute to Steff on Facebook.
He wrote: “Still canny take it in that you’re gone bro! Totally gutted.”
In reference to their mother who died in March 2011 Liam added: “Another one took fae us.”
Another poster, Allan Traill, wrote: “So sorry to here about Steff mate. My thoughts go out to you. He was a top bloke.”
Friend Richard Krendler said: “Sorry to hear this man you are well loved and as a bet your bro was to. My thoughts are with you and your family.”
Valdo Murray added: “Sorry to hear about Steff my thoughts are with you and your family. RIP Steff.”
Friend Siobhan Noon added: “Thoughts are with you and your family Liam, I can’t believe he’s gone. RIP Steff.”
Steff worked for Fauldhouse company Blythe Demolition.
It is understood the car was heading in a westward direction when it left the road on Sheephousehill Road junction with Breichwater Place.
No other vehicle was involved.
A horrified pal of Steff’s said: “It appears they ran off and left Steff dead or dying.”
Last night, a male relative who identified himself as his uncle said:
“I have only just heard about it myself. We are a close-knit family and we just want to be left to grieve.”
Police are urging anyone with information about the driver or who saw the smash to come forward.
Sergeant Gary Taylor, of Lothian and Borders Police, said: “We are appealing for any witnesses to the accident or anyone who saw the car prior to 7.45pm to contact us.
“We believe the vehicle had been heading westwards at the time. We are also keen to speak to the driver of the car who left the scene prior to the arrival of the emergency services.”
Inspector Andy Amour added: “Inquiries are ongoing to trace the driver of the car, and establish exactly what happened.
“We are keen to hear from anyone who may have seen a silver Vauxhall Signum on the roads around the B7015 before 7.45pm on the 1st of January.
“Additionally we would appeal for anyone who may know who was driving the car at that time to contact us on 0131 311 3131.”
Anyone with information should contact police on 01313113131 or the charity Crimestoppers on 0800500111.
It is understood Steff Sakatiuk was convicted of a second knife charge after appearing before Livingston Sheriff Court last year.
He escaped a prison sentence after admitting being in possession of a lock knife with a two-inch blade.
He was searched by police outside Livingston Shopping Centre, in West Lothian, on April 5.
The offence meant he breached a probation order imposed to help address his addiction to drugs.
After pleading guilty he was sentenced to 185 hours of community work.