Lewiston police have charged a 25-year-old Town of Niagara man with leaving the scene of an accident that took the life of Lorne Jacobs more than six years ago on the Tuscarora Reservation.
"We made a promise to the family when this first occurred that this is something we would never give up on, and I know that we have kept that promise," Lewiston Police Chief Frank Previte said at a press conference Sunday to announce the arrest of Timothy J. Martin Jr. "The officers have really worked hard to solve this case, especially in the last few months."
On Feb. 8, 2012, at 11:03 p.m., Jacobs, 59, was hit by a vehicle as he was walking west on Mount Hope Road near his residence in the 2200 block.
Previte said they didn't have a lot to go on when the fatal crash happened. He said a family member saw the rear lights of the vehicle as it left the scene, and that some pieces of the vehicle were found at the scene, which gave them an idea of the make, model and year of the vehicle. But he said tips from the public ultimately led to the arrest.
He said the Police Department pushed the case out on social media on a regular basis and news media continued to remind the public, which led to more tips. He said they followed every lead and admitted that Martin, who was arrested Saturday, had been on their radar.
Previte would not describe the vehicle they think hit Jacobs, or say which tips led to the arrest, because Martin has yet to be indicted. But he said there was no evidence alcohol was involved, and that if the suspect had not fled the scene, he would not have been charged.
"The message is: Do the right thing. You may think you are getting away with something, but six years later (Martin) probably did not imagine a knock on his door," Previte said.
A spokesperson for the Jacobs family, Rene Rickard-Printup, thanked the Police Department for never giving up.
"We finally have some closure," said Rickard-Printup. "Although our hearts remain broken, we hope Lorne, or L.J. as we called him, is resting peacefully knowing justice can finally be served."
District Attorney Caroline Wojtaszek said she believes they have enough evidence to make a case, and will be taking it to a grand jury to seek an indictment after they conduct a few more interviews.
She said Martin could face up to seven years in prison on the top count of leaving the scene of a fatal injury accident, a felony, and could also face lesser charges. He is being held on $50,000 cash or $100,000 bond in the Niagara County Jail.