Where's the car? Mystery hit and runner still not charged

Charlottesville police are pretty sure they know who slammed into Adrienne Eichner's parked pickup truck in the wee hours on April 10. They just don't have enough evidence to arrest him.

Attorney Bud Treakle knows who the perp is, too, because it's his client. The unnamed client called the lawyer the night of the crash to say he'd done it and he'd make restitution. Treakle, in turn, called the police. But because of attorney-client privilege, Treakle isn't saying who the felonious fugitive is, and he declined to comment for this article.

Officer Faron Ocheltree, who's investigating the hit and run, told The Hook in May the missing driver had been drinking and didn't have a license.

Police got a tip through Crimestoppers and have investigated a suspect. The problem? "We can't prove it beyond a reasonable doubt," says Sgt. Ronnie Roberts, who declines to name the suspect.

But wouldn't a vehicle that hit a parked truck and pushed it an estimated 40 to 50 yards into a neighbor's yard have signs that it had been in an accident? "We're still working on that," says Roberts.

He does say police spent time looking at a car "with cooperation from agencies outside the Albemarle/Charlottesville area." Does that mean that the hit and runner is hiding his vehicle out of the county? Roberts remains mum on that part.

Eichner says a city official told her that "They're not going to arrest anybody because they can't find the car that hit mine."

And she's still looking for restitution for the damage to her 1995 Toyota truck. Her insurance company paid her $7,400. "The truck was worth $8,500, and I was trying to sell it for $8,300," she says.

Besides the $900 she says she's out of pocket, she also wants compensation for her neighbors' azaleas that were damaged when her truck was hurled into their yard.

"A policeman told my grandparents I'd be compensated, but nobody is talking to me," Eichner complains.

Roberts says the case is not closed, but unless fresh information surfaces or someone comes forward, there isn't enough evidence to file charges.

"I'm disappointed, because this is a felony," says Eichner, "not just some little bump in the parking lot."

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