New Bedford Police and the Bristol County District Attorney's office are investigating the death of a homeless man Friday afternoon.

According to the DA's office, 56 year old Paul Xavier was killed when he was struck by a car as he emerged from a manhole in the Mutual Gas Station  lot. Investigators say after being hit, Xavier retained consciousness for just a few minutes. He was pronounced dead at Saint Luke's Hospital. Xavier was a familiar person to many in the downtown and along the waterfront.

Investigators don't know why he opened and climbed into the manhole. The man who drove over the manhole was going slowly at the time of the incident and stopped to help and is cooperating with police and has not been charged at this time.  His name is not being released.