2022 | Police & Fire

Police offer up to $2,500 for help solving hit-and-run pedestrian crash that killed 59-year-old woman in Wheaton

They are asking witnesses who were in the area to call them

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Brian Jordan, the pastor at Saint Camillus Church in Silver Spring, left, with Montgomery County police Sgt. Elijah Kinser on Friday in Wheaton. Police are offering a reward of up to $2,500 for information about a pedestrian crash that killed a 59-year-old woman on Jan. 17.

Photos by Dan Schere

Montgomery County police are asking for the public’s help in solving a fatal hit-and-run crash that killed a pedestrian earlier this month in Wheaton.

Luz Marina Roa, 59, was trying to cross Veirs Mill Road around 6:20 p.m. on Jan. 17 near the intersection with Ferrara Avenue when she was struck by a vehicle traveling west, according to police. The driver allegedly slowed down after the crash, but then drove away. Police have said they think the driver was operating a silver or light blue Volkswagen Passat built between 2012 and 2015.

On Friday, Sgt. Elijah Kinser told reporters during a press conference that the vehicle likely has damage to the bumper area, left-front headlight assembly and left sideview mirror.

Parts from a vehicle involved in a hit-and-run crash in Wheaton on Jan. 17 were recovered. Photo by Dan Schere.

A few parts that were recovered from the vehicle were on display at Friday’s press conference. Kinser said detectives used those pieces to help them determine the type of car that likely hit Roa.

“There’s vehicle codes that are on the parts. We were able to look up those codes and figure out the make and model of that vehicle,” he said.

Kinser said police contacted car repair shops in the area and glass manufacturers. They’re also asking auto body shops to share any information about vehicles that match the description they’ve provided.

Since 2014, there have been five or six fatal hit-and-run vehicle crashes in Montgomery County, Kinser estimated, all of which remain open cases. Tracking down hit-and-run drivers is particularly challenging, he said.

“We’re left with not a lot of evidence at the scene, and we have to put things back together,” he said. “If you look at the pieces of the vehicle, we actually put them back together like a puzzle to make sure we have what we think we have. We took those pieces to VW and said, ‘Is this what we think it is?’ and they verified that these are the parts from this vehicle.”

Kinser said that so far detectives have interviewed three witnesses who were at the scene that night, but officials think there are at least a half dozen more that haven’t come forward. Police are asking anyone with information to call the Collision Reconstruction Unit at 240-773-6620 or Crime Solvers at 1-866-411-8477. Police are offering a reward of up to $2,500 for information that leads to an arrest or conviction.

A memorial to Luz Roa, who died in a crash Jan. 17, marks the intersection at Veirs Mill Road and Ferrara Avenue in Wheaton. Photo by Dan Schere.

Roa’s family was also present at Friday’s press conference, but didn’t speak to the media.

Brian Jordan, the pastor of Saint Camillus Church in Silver Spring, also made a plea on Friday for the driver to come forward to authorities.

“Please search your conscience, and after you search your conscience, please clean your conscience and come forward and admit what you’ve done,” he said.

Jordan also urged witnesses who haven’t spoken to police to do so.

“I ask you also to search your conscience, and for the sake of the common good, come forward. Contact the police,” he said.

Dan Schere can be reached at daniel.schere@bethesdamagazine.com