License plate helps Des Plaines police find fatal hit-and-run suspect
A United Airlines employee behind the wheel of a company car struck and killed a bicyclist Monday night in Des Plaines then fled the scene, police said.
Police responding to the hit-and-run crash in the intersection of Algonquin Road and Pennsylvania Avenue at 9:40 p.m. Monday found Jose Gomez, 25, of Des Plaines unresponsive in the roadway. He was taken to Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, where he was pronounced dead at 11:07 p.m., police Cmdr. Randy Akin said.
There was no car on the scene when officers arrived, but they found a license plate that fell off when the car hit Gomez, Akin said.
The plate helped police officers trace the car to the nearby United facility at 1200 E. Algonquin Road in Elk Grove Village.
Interviews and further investigation led police to the driver, whom police have identified as Daniel R. Wehr, 54 of Morton Grove. He was taken to the Des Plaines Police Department where he gave a videotaped statement admitting to his involvement in the crash, Akin said.
Wehr is charged with a felony count of leaving the scene of an accident involving personal injury or death.
Akin said it was a bit of luck that helped them solve the hit-and-run so quickly.
"We were fortunate to find the license plate in the proximity," he said. "Then it all just kind of fell into place."
Police said they aren't yet sure how long Gomez was in the roadway before first responders arrived. Akin said police believe Gomez worked nearby and was biking home at the time of the crash.
Wehr will appear in bond court this morning in Skokie.