Bloomington Police now say a second man was the driver in a fatal hit-and-run crash on the city’s southeast side—not the suspect that authorities initially announced in a press release.
Jakeb Collins, 22, of Bloomington was allegedly behind the wheel of a red van Wednesday morning that crashed into a sport utility vehicle on Morrissey Drive at Chrisman Lane, Bloomington Police spokesperson Elias Mendiola said Friday. He was charged Friday with leaving the scene of an accident involving a fatality, said McLean County State’s Attorney Jason Chambers.
Police announced Collins’ arrest just 24 hours after sending a press release to the media identifying a different man—Darin R. Scott of Bloomington—as in custody related to the crash. Killed in the crash was Phyllis Graver, 79, of Carmel, Ind., a passenger in the SUV. The driver of the SUV, Richard Goertemiller, was also injured in the crash but is expected to survive.
Authorities said additional investigative work—informed by tips from the public—led police to Collins after Scott, 54, had already been arrested. (Scott was never formally charged.)
Some of the confusion arose because Scott was also allegedly driving a red vehicle around the time of the crash Wednesday, authorities said. That red vehicle had some “white paint transfer” on it—the same color as the SUV that was carrying Graver, Chambers said. Scott was arrested in August on a DUI charge, and he now faces another pending DUI charge based on his arrest Wednesday—just not in connection with the fatal hit-and-run, Mendiola said.
“It wasn’t the police just making a guess here,” Chambers said.
Ultimately, police say it was Collins—allegedly driving a red van—who was behind the wheel of the crash. Collins’ arrest Thursday came as “we were getting a lot of different tips,” said Mendiola.
Collins’ mother told police that her son was likely driving on U.S. 150/Morrissey at the time of crash, according to a probable cause statement read in court Friday. Witnesses told police that the red van was trying to pass the SUV when it ran out of room and collided with the SUV, which overturned.
“(The mother) saw (Collins) at her house minutes after the crash would have occurred, and he appeared to be shaken up,” according to the probable cause statement.
Police later found the red van allegedly driven by Collins, and prosecutors say it had white paint transfer on the passenger side—consistent with the circumstances of the crash. Collins later confessed to police that he was driving the red van involved in the crash, prosecutors said.
“It was good that the Bloomington Police Department continued to pursue any leads that they had when calls were coming in from the public, even though they had someone who was considered a suspect,” Chambers said. “There was a significant number of coincidental events that I don’t know would ever, ever happen again. There were a significant number of things which pointed in the direction of the first individual, and I can understand why police considered him a suspect.”
Collins was being held Friday in the McLean County jail on $300,000 bond. Scott also remained in the jail Friday.
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