Woman arrested in hit-and-run death of man using walker - KPTV - FOX 12

Court docs: Hit-and-run suspect confided in co-worker that she 'killed a man'

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Crash scene, Oct. 28, 2013 Crash scene, Oct. 28, 2013
Jessica Van Wechel in court Thursday Jessica Van Wechel in court Thursday
Crash scene, Oct. 28, 2013 Crash scene, Oct. 28, 2013
VANCOUVER, WA (KPTV) -

A 30-year-old Camas woman told at least one co-worker and one family member that she drove away from the scene of a crash that killed a man in Vancouver, according to court documents.

Jessica Van Wechel is accused of hitting and killing 65-year-old Stephen Dewey, who was using a walker to cross the street at Mill Plain Boulevard and 105th Avenue on Oct. 28, 2013.

Police said he was in a crosswalk attempting to cross from north to south just after 7 p.m. when the traffic signal for east and west had cycled to green.

Witnesses told FOX 12 they heard the car hit Dewey, then saw him lying in the street while the car sped away.

Dewey died at the hospital roughly one week later.

According to a probable cause affidavit, Van Wechel worked at a Portland-area restaurant. A co-worker contacted police to say Van Wechel confided in her during a work shift on Nov. 26 that she had "killed a man" and "fled the scene."

"So, we go into the bathroom and she told me that she had killed a man," Debby Flesvig told Fox 12. "And I go, 'what?'"

Van Wechel also told her co-worker that she was texting at the time of the crash and had looked down when the collision occurred, according to court documents.

Flesvig said she offered to help Van Wechel turn herself in, but she refused.

"How dare her not even try and help the man, by CPR or calling 911 or all of the above" Flesvig said.

The co-worker told police Van Wechel said she fled the scene because she did not have insurance.

Police then went to Van Wechel's home on Whitney Street in Camas and located a powder blue Toyota Paseo in the driveway, which was similar in color to the paint chips found at the scene. The car also had front-end damage, police said. The vehicle was seized as evidence.

Police said Van Wechel declined to speak with law enforcement and requested legal counsel.

The Washington State Patrol Crime Lab reported the paint chips and lens fragments from the crash scene were "definitely associated with the Toyota Paseo," according to court documents.

A warrant for Van Wechel's cell phone records were obtained and showed she was in the area of the crash scene at the time Dewey was hit and she had placed a call shortly before the crash happened, a probable cause affidavit states.

A family member contacted authorities to report Van Wechel sending text messages on Dec. 5 saying, "I got into a crash" and "I could do some prison time." According to court records, Van Wechel then confirmed her involvement in the deadly crash to the family member in person two days later.

Van Wechel was arrested at 9:50 p.m. Wednesday following a traffic stop in Camas. Police said she was driving with a suspended license.

Van Wechel made her first appearance in court Thursday on charges of vehicular homicide and hit-and-run resulting in death.

Her bail was set at $75,000 and she is due back in court March 13.

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