After Hit-and-Run Kills Cyclist, Redditors Step In

Internet users identify vehicle part left behind at scene
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 16, 2018 5:59 PM CDT
Redditors Help Solve Fatal Hit-and-Run
Stock photo.   (Getty Images / BrianAJackson)

Susan Rainwater was riding her bicycle in Eatonville, Wash., last Thursday morning when a vehicle came up from behind, veered off the road, and fatally struck the 66-year-old. The driver then left her for dead, police say; a passerby later found her body in a ditch after spotting her crumpled bike. Authorities pleaded for the public's help, tweeting a photo of a black car part the vehicle left behind in the hopes someone could identify it. That's when Reddit stepped in: The photo was posted on the subreddit /r/whatisthisthing, leading to hundreds of comments, Yahoo News reports. Car enthusiasts, mechanics, and other experts weighed in; ultimately, someone identifying himself as a Maryland State Vehicle Inspector determined it was a headlight part from a 1980s Chevrolet truck, KOMO News reports.

Then police received an anonymous tip with the license plate number of a 1980s Chevy pickup truck with front end damage to the right-side headlight assembly. Investigators ultimately found and arrested Jeremy Simon, who drives a 1986 Chevrolet K-10; police say he confessed to hitting Rainwater. Simon, 37, allegedly told police he fell asleep at the wheel, thought he hit a mailbox and pulled over, but drove off in a panic when he saw the mangled bicycle because he didn't want to see a dead body, the News Tribune reports. Troopers allegedly found a small bag of heroin and a plastic straw in his pocket when he was arrested. He has been charged with vehicular homicide, hit-and-run resulting in death, and unlawful possession of a controlled substance. Washington State Police credited the Reddit tipsters on Twitter. (More Reddit stories.)

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