EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT) – A juvenile was charged as an adult after a hit-and-run that resulted in death, says the Evansville Police Department (EPD).
On April 3, around 9:00 p.m., EPD says that officers went to Franklin and Weinbach for a hit and run with injury. EPD says that officers found that the hit and run took place on the parking lot of a gas station and spotted a victim with severe injuries. Police say that the victim’s injuries were caused by being struck and run over by a vehicle. EPD says the victim was transported to a local hospital but died due to the severity of injuries.
EPD says that judging from surveillance video and witness statements, it appeared that the suspect, Mateo Rodriguez, 16, was hanging out on the parking lot of the gas station with another male. Police say that the driver of a white car pulled into the parking lot, parked near the two males, and walked into the gas station. EPD says that while the driver was inside the gas station, Rodriguez appears to “case” the vehicle before jumping in the driver’s side and stealing it.
EPD says in Rodriguez’s attempt to drive away in the stolen vehicle, he put the vehicle into reverse and backed into the victim’s vehicle. Police say that the victim was sitting inside the vehicle during the crash and got out of her vehicle after the crash. While the victim was standing in front of the stolen vehicle, Rodriguez accelerated forward, striking the victim, EPD says. The victim fell underneath the vehicle and was run over while Rodriguez drove away, police say.
Police say an EPD detective recognized Rodriguez from the surveillance video. EPD says that officers and detectives went to Rodriguez’s home, and they contacted Rodriguez’s mother at the home. Police say that they learned that Rodriguez was at home and so he was transported to EPD Headquarters for an interview. EPD says a search warrant was granted for Rodriguez’s home, and detectives noticed clothing items Rodriguez had worn during the incident.
EPD says Rodriguez was charged with Murder, Criminal Recklessness with a Deadly Weapon, Auto Theft, Leaving the scene of a Fatality Crash, and Operating without ever Receiving a License. Police say Rodriguez was booked into the Vanderburgh County Confinement Center.
Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call the Evansville Police Detective Office (812) 436-7979 or the tip line (812) 435-6194. EPD is also interested in information about the other male, or the location of the stolen vehicle, and ask for people to contact the Adult Investigation Unit at (812) 436-7979 if they have any information.