Man Held on $1M for 2008 Fatal Hit-and-Run

David H. McCarthy, 27, allegedly told the victim's sister he was driving the car, police said

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Melissa Lech (L) was struck and killed in the early hours of Aug. 6, 2008 while walking on McDonough Street in Joliet. More than three years later, David McCarthy (R) came forward and said he was the driver of the vehicle that struck her.

    A Naperville man was ordered held Monday on $1 million bail in connection with a hit-and-run incident more than three years ago.

    David H. McCarthy, 27, was arrested Sunday after paying a visit to the victim's family and admitting he was the driver that struck and killed Melissa Lech in the early morning hours of Aug. 7, 2008.

    Lech Family Reacts to Driver's Confession

    [CHI] Lech Family Reacts to Driver's Confession
    David H. McCarthy, 27, was arrested Sunday after paying a visit to the victim's family and admitting he was the driver that struck and killed Melissa Lech in the early morning hours of Aug. 7, 2008. Lech's mother and sister said they're angry about the confession, saying McCarthy never apologized and only came forward to clear his own conscience.

    "And he just came out and said, 'I was the one that struck and killed Melissa. I ran her over,'" explained Lech's sister, Michelle Lech.

    She said McCarthy never apologized.

    "I'm angered by it. You're sitting across from me. You come to my home, and this was my sister and you don't even have the decency to say you're sorry? You're just coming for yourself, to clear your conscience? .. Well, that doesn't make us feel better," she said.

    During his bond hearing Monday, prosecutors said McCarthy told Lech's sister a day earlier that Lech was alive when he hit her as she walked along McDonough Street in Joliet. McCarthy left the scene when he feared people would see him, prosecutors said.

    Prosecutors said McCarthy told the family he was confused and was looking for a way back to Interstate 55 when he struck the 20-year-old University of Illinois student.

    "In my entire career, I've never seen anything quite like this," said Joliet police Det. John Ross.

    Lech's mother, Maria Lech, said McCarthy should have come to her and not her daughter.

    "I'm the mother. I'm supposed to handle all of it. Not my kids. All I do is try and protect them. I couldn't protect Melissa," she said.

    McCarthy never gave his name and said he did not plan to turn himself in to police. But when he left the house, Michelle Lech copied down his license plate and called police.

    He was arrested without incident at his Naperville home. He's due back in court March 19.

    McCarthy's father, attorney David McCarthy, was clearly still in shock over the charges when asked about them.

    "We found out at 4 p.m. yesterday for the first time from a Joliet police officer that our son had been involved in a hit-and-run, and that the victim had died and that our son had visited the victim's sister earlier in the day," he said."My wife and I and our family feel the deepest sympathy and sorrow for the Lech family."

    He said he'd not spoken to his son since he was arrested.

    Since Lech's death, McCarthy has had a couple run-ins with the law, including a 2009 domestic battery charge and a March 2010 DUI arrest, the Chicago Tribune reported, citing court records.