GARY — A 28-year-old man was charged Monday with two felonies in connection with an April hit-and-run crash that left a 16-year-old boy dead.
Ronnie L. Merrill Jr., of Gary, is accused of hitting Jayden Stewart as the teen rode a bicycle April 13 in the 2800 block of East 15th Avenue in Gary.
A woman told police she was driving behind Merrill when he struck Stewart, according to Lake Criminal Court records.
The woman and Merrill both pulled over, and a second SUV had to swerve to avoid hitting her car, a probable cause affidavit said. The driver of the second SUV also stopped.
Merrill and two men in the second SUV exited their vehicles and spoke for a time, court records said. Merrill then returned to his vehicle, made a U-turn and pulled up to the woman who had been driving behind him, according to the affidavit.
Merrill allegedly asked the woman if she was OK and told her he didn't know what happened. Merrill again exited his SUV, walked around as if inspecting it and then drove off, court records said.
One of the men from the second SUV took down Merrill's license plate number, and the woman identified Merrill as a suspect in a photo lineup, the affidavit said.
Police later located Merrill's Chevrolet and noted it had damage to the front end, hood and bumper, court records said.
Merrill admitted to being at the scene of the fatal crash, but told police another driver struck the bicyclist. Merrill said he left the scene because his license had been suspended for the past 10 years, the affidavit said.
Merrill faces charges of felony leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death and felony driving while suspended.
This is the second time Merrill has been charged in connection with the crash. In April, police said Merrill was expected to face felony charges of leaving the scene of an accident and licensing violations.
However, court records show he was charged at that time with misdemeanor driving while suspended and three traffic infractions.
The Lake County prosecutor's office in June dropped charges filed in April and told the court it planned to refile felony charges. The latest charges were filed Monday.
Merrill was not in custody as of Tuesday morning, police said.