SOUTH BEND — A Goshen man accused of leaving the scene of a fatal crash Friday, Jan. 10, has been arrested and faces charges in St. Joseph County.
Jeremy Bontrager, 24, of Goshen, was arrested following an investigation from the St. Joseph County Fatal Alcohol Crash Team. He is accused of hitting Ronald Rodgers, who was found dead along S.R. 933, just south of the Indiana Toll Road.
Officers from the Roseland Police Department were called to the scene of the crash at about 11:52 p.m.
Bontrager has been charged with failure to stop after an accident resulting in death, a felony that carries a prison sentence of up to eight years.
According to the probable cause affidavit for Bontrager’s arrest, William Scott, a passer-by, saw an object along the road and changed lanes to avoid it. When he passed it he realized it was a body.
Scott called 911 and stopped nearby and stood near the body waving for traffic to avoid the lane where the body lay. Another driver, Kyle Glasser, was unable to change lanes and hit the body.
The next day, one of Bontrager’s co-workers called police and said they heard him say he “thought he hit something the night before.”
Bontrager talked with police and told them he was out with his friends at a pub in downtown South Bend on Friday night. He had bought two beers and some fries.
Bontrager told police he left the pub at about 11:30 p.m. and was driving north in the right lane of S.R. 933 when he heard a loud bang. Bontrager said it was raining and he couldn’t see. When he heard the bang we didn’t see anything and thought he had hit an animal.
According to the affidavit, Bontrager said he turned around at a Wendy’s parking lot but he didn’t see anything. He pulled parts of the windshield that were damaged and went home. He told police he was thinking about going to the South Bend Police Department after he heard information about the crash on the news.
Police obtained a warrant to search Bontrager’s car and found damage consistent with pedestrian strike.