Dallas police said Tuesday they've made an arrested related to the hit-and-run death of 23-year-old Rachel Spelman.
Spelman was killed when she was struck at about 2 a.m. Saturday on Cedar Springs Road and Pearl Street in Uptown.
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Police said a dark sedan traveling southbound on Cedar Springs fatally hit Spelman as she ran across the street -- not in a crosswalk. Dallas police said after the driver hit Spelman, he stopped, got out of his vehicle, looked at Spelman on the ground and drove away.
During a news conference Tuesday afternoon, Dallas police Lt. Robert Arredondo said 38-year-old John Adrian Esparza was arrested in Madill, Oklahoma on Monday and confessed to his role in the fatal crash.
Arredondo said Dallas police were notified by the Freestone County Sheriff's Office of individuals who had knowledge of the crash and that during an interview with those people they learned of the suspect's name.
Police then tracked Esparza's vehicle to Madill, Oklahoma, where Marshall County Sheriff's deputies were able to confirm the vehicle's location and damage consistent with striking a pedestrian.
Dallas police traveled overnight to Oklahoma to arrest Esparza. He was later interviewed at the Marshall County Jail where he confessed to his role in the crash, Arredondo said.
Arredondo did not elaborate on the details of the interview with Esparza.
On Tuesday, Spelman's father Tom released the following statement on behalf of the family:
"On behalf of my wife and daughter, I would like to thank the Dallas Police Department, government officials and concerned citizens everywhere for all of their efforts in bringing closure to this case so quickly. I understand there was great community support. As we grieve for our beloved Rachel, I would like to also thank those witnesses that responded immediately in an effort to assist and comfort her before the first responders arrived. To you we are forever grateful. I also ask that there is improved safety for the pedestrians in the Uptown area. As you know the demographics of the area are mostly young, bright, and ambitious people with a lot to contribute to the world. Finally, Thank you for your prayers and support and please find it in your hearts to pray for those that have been apprehended and are responsible for this tragedy."
Esparza is charged with accident involving death, a 2nd degree felony. He is currently being held in the Marshall County Jail and will be extradited back to Dallas at a later date.
"Now that that individual is in custody, we can turn to celebrating her life and her legacy and we can go into the grieving process,” said Spelman's cousin, Jennifer Lackey, who lives in Washington, D.C. and spoke to NBC 5 via Skype on Tuesday. “I’m personally still in a state of shock and I think my family would say the same.”
Police said they are not looking for any other vehicles in connection with the fatal hit-and-run but did say that Esparza's girlfriend may also face charges in the incident.