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Police investigating deadly pedestrian-involved hit-and-run crash near US-60 and Alma School Road

Joseph Eckert
Posted at 6:50 AM, Sep 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-01 11:55:23-04

MESA, AZ — Mesa officials have announced an arrest in connection to a deadly pedestrian-involved hit-and-run crash.

The crash occurred around 6 a.m. Tuesday near Isabella Avenue, which is located just south of the US 60, and Alma School Road.

Police say the driver, identified as Joseph Eckert, somehow lost control of his truck, went up onto a sidewalk and struck a pedestrian, SRP electrical box and water meter valve.

The vehicle reportedly continued northbound after hitting the pedestrian, identified as 81-year-old Larry Lans. Police say, Eckert then turned southbound and drove away.

Lans was pronounced dead at the scene.

Nearby surveillance video helped detectives identify the Ford Ranger truck along with a license plate number.

With the help of undercover officers, the truck was traced to Tempe. The owner was interviewed and identified Eckert, an acquaintance, as the driver when the incident happened.

According to Mesa PD, Eckert was contacted and interviewed and initially denied any involvement. He later confessed to driving the vehicle at the time of the incident and admitted to striking the power box but claimed he had no knowledge of striking a pedestrian.

He has been booked and charged with one count of failing to stop for a fatality crash.