Fatal Hit-and-Run Case Prosecuted to Fullest Extent of the Law

Modified: April 21, 2015 2:55pm

3/16/2015

Erie County District Attorney Frank A. Sedita, III announces that 26 year-old Matthew Jurek of 257 Main Road, Akron pleaded guilty as charged to Leaving the Scene of an Incident Without Reporting Resulting in Death before Erie County Court Judge Michael D’Amico. This is the highest charge for which the defendant could have been convicted had he gone to trial. In other words, Jurek was prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Jurek faces a maximum prison sentence of 7 years when he is sentenced on April 14, 2015 before Judge D’Amico.

On January 4, 2015, Jurek left one bar, where he had been drinking alcohol, to go to another bar, when the Ford F-350 truck he was driving struck and killed pedestrian Francis Meldrum, who was walking on Indian Falls Road in the Town of Newstead.

Several search warrants were obtained and executed during the investigation, including one for Jurek’s truck. DNA profiles developed from dried red stains and debris from the underside of the truck matched the victim’s known blood sample.

In addition to developing evidence that demonstrated Jurek’s truck struck the victim, the investigation uncovered evidence that the defendant knew, as the law requires, that he struck another person at the time he struck that person, and that he made a conscious and deliberate decision to flee the scene and not report the collision to the police.  Specifically, an eyewitness heard the collision and saw Jurek exit his vehicle, only to return to it and flee. Soon thereafter, Jurek admitted to a witness that he knew he had hit a person. 

The case was successfully prosecuted due to the thorough investigation by the Erie County Sheriff’s Office, which worked around the clock to preserve the crime scene, interview witnesses, and collect evidence. Special recognition should be given to Detective Scott Piel, Sgt. Daniel Dytchkowskyj, Deputy Joseph Raczynski and Deputy Jeffrey Ely, who spent countless hours on this investigation. Assistant District Attorney Lauren Nash, who is assigned to DA Sedita’s Vehicular Crimes Bureau, assisted the Sheriff’s Office during the investigation and successfully prosecuted the case.

DA Sedita stated: “This case again demonstrates that when the investigation supplies us with sufficient evidence to prove what is required to be proved by the law, the District Attorney’s Office will prosecute the defendant to the fullest extent of the law.”