Family and friends want justice for Mesa hit-and-run victim

Posted at 10:18 PM, May 13, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-14 01:48:12-04

Not far from where her life was taken, Erin Ruecklies used to take walks around a park with her dear friend Peggy Rickard.

"You don't replace those kinds of friends," said Rickard. "I will make new friends. But she can never be replaced. Nor would I want her to be."

The Mesa Police Department says Ruecklies was killed when she was struck in a hit-and-run on March 12, near Higley and University roads around 10 a.m. 

Rickard shares that Ruecklies was a special needs teacher, animal advocate, wife, and mother to two teen boys. Her sons were there when their mother was killed. 

"I can't imagine witnessing your mother being hit and that the driver doesn't even put on the brake lights," said Rickard. "Mom's not going to be here for the holidays, for birthdays, college graduations or when they get married."

Rickard is hopeful the driver will do the right thing.

"Maybe they've got an explanation," said Rickard."It won't make anything right. But maybe something was going on with them."

Police have not released any suspect description but did release a photo of the suspected vehicle involved.

Two months and no arrests, but Mesa PD has had recent success with another deadly hit and run.

It took two years, but they just arrested a woman for the 2016 death of William Hawkins, who was struck while walking in the roadway along University Drive near Alma School and the driver took off. 

And it was all made possible from a Silent Witness tip.  

This case, giving some hope to loved ones of Ruecklies.

"They decide they can't live with this any longer and they come forward, that's really what my hope is," said Rickard. 

Anyone with any information about the vehicle or suspect's location is asked to call the Mesa Police Department.

According to a February report from the Governors Highway Safety Association, Arizona has the highest rate of pedestrian deaths in the nation.