A four-year old hit-and-run fatality was solved this week, thanks in part to a NASCAR connection.
|Melissa Lech died August 7, 2008|
On August 7, 2008, 20-year old Melissa Lech was struck and killed by a hit-and-run driver while walking home from a night on the town with friends. Police were unable to identify a suspect in the case, prompting to co-ed’s family and friends to post a $25,000 reward for information leading to an arrest. Those efforts also went for naught, and last summer, driver Kevin Conway featured Lech’s photo on the trunk of his NEMCO Motorsports Sprint Cup Series Toyota, hoping to attract publicity to the case.
Still nothing, until Sunday.
While NASCAR Nation sat in the rain at Daytona International Speedway, waiting for a Daytona 500 that was ultimately postponed to the following evening, 27-year-old David McCarthy appeared on the doorstep of Lech’s sister, Michelle, confessing that he was the driver who had struck and killed her sister nearly four years ago and saying his conscience could no longer bear the weight of his actions. He said he became uneasy seeing “the NASCAR thing” and told the family -- and subsequently police – how he had struck Melissa Lech, stopped to see if she was still alive, then sped away to avoid apprehension.
|McCarthy held on $1 million bail.|
“He just came and said, ‘I ran over your sister, I ran her over’,” said Michelle Lech to WLS-TV reporter Chris Bury. McCarthy did not use his last name, but Lech’s husband had the foresight to write down his license plate number and give that information to police.
McCarthy is jailed today on $1 million bail, charged with causing personal injury and leaving the scene of an accident.
Contacted today, Conway said he received word of the arrest while in Daytona Beach, telling reporter Bury the news was, “an awesome way to start the racing season. I hope this brings an element of closure so (the family) can begin the healing process.
“We have so many fans around the country; millions of people watching on TV and thousands in attendance,” he said. “We wanted to use the platform that NASCAR gives us to tie it back into the community.”