TEMPE, AZ — An arrest has been made in the fatal hit-and-run of a retired ASU police officer.
On December 10, Jeron Meeks was driving a 2003 Chevrolet Van near Mill and Forest avenues, outside Kiwanis Park, when he lost control, drove onto the sidewalk, and hit the victim, according to court paperwork.
The victim, identified as Albert Phillips, was walking on the sidewalk and died from his injuries.
Meeks steered the van back onto the roadway and continued driving eastbound with a shattered windshield and flat rear tire.
He passed a crossing guard who witnessed Meeks alone in the vehicle and said he smiled at him as he drove away from the crash.
Police say Meeks abandoned the vehicle a short distance from the crash and ran away on foot. As he ran past another witness he yelled to call 9-1-1 and then began to enter nearby residential yards.
A homeowner confronted Meeks in their backyard which was later confirmed through surveillance video.
Descriptions by the witnesses of the crash, victims of trespassing, and the surveillance footage were all consistent and matched the description of Meeks, according to court documents.
Police searched the area with multiple officers, a K9 unit, and unmanned surveillance, but Meeks was not found at the scene.
Authorities report that Meeks dropped a hotel keycard at the scene of the trespassing location which led officers to the hotel where he had been staying.
Hotel staff identified the man staying at the hotel as the same man shown in the surveillance video. They also identified a maroon van with faded paint that was used in the hit-and-run.
When police arrested Meeks he stated he was not driving the van at the time but said he was a passenger. He later admitted to being the man in the surveillance video, but still claimed he was not driving.
After being booked into the Tempe City Jail, Meeks was on video and audio recording making a statement to another inmate that he “killed a guy with his car.”
He is facing several charges, including manslaughter, leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death, and more.