A tip from the public helped York City Police solve a nearly 8-year-old cold case involving a hit-and-run that killed a city man.
Leroy A. Smith, 52, of the 200 block of South Queen Street was struck by a car that didn't stop on Nov. 20, 2004. He died at York Hospital two days later.
Police on Thursday charged the alleged driver, Benjamin Miguel Rouco, 26, formerly of Spring Garden Township, with homicide by vehicle.
Rouco is also charged with accidents involving death or personal injury, according to court documents.
He was to be arraigned on the charges before district judge Linda Williams at 9 a.m. Friday.
Rouco is currently being held at York County Prison on unrelated charges.
Hit-and-run: Smith was on his way home after buying potato chips from Sun's Deli for his then-13-year-old son when he was struck by the car at the intersection of South Queen and Princess streets at 6:16 p.m.
A 1997 Chevrolet Cavalier, allegedly driven by Rouco, was traveling east on Princess Street and hit Smith, according to Rouco's charging documents.
Rouco failed to stop, even after a passenger told him he hit a person, and continued home, documents state.
The collision caused damage to the bumper of the car and broke its windshield.
When Rouco arrived at his home, he attempted to cover up the crime by throwing a log through the windshield, and the next day, he filed a vandalism report with Spring Garden Township Police, documents state.
During an interview with police, Rouco told them he was traveling between 27 and 33 mph at the time of the crash, documents state.
The posted speed limit in the section of the street is 25 mph.
Tip: From the start York City Police investigators had little to go on as they attempted to solve the crime, said Lt. Steven Butler.
It had just started to rain the night of the crash, and not many people were outside. It was also getting dark, and what witness descriptions police received weren't that detailed, he said.
"We never really had any good descriptions," Butler said.
But a tip came into York County Crime Stoppers in April 2010, and investigators took another look at the cold case.
A person stated that Rouco was the driver of the car that was involved in the hit-and-run and that he covered up the crash, documents state.
Butler said he wouldn't comment on why person came forward more than five years after the collision occurred in order to maintain the anonymity of the tipster.
But Butler said police wouldn't have been able to solve the case without that tip.
"It was completely a cold case without the crime stoppers tip," he said. "I was surprised when we got the tip."
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