Sunday , February 25 2024

Arrest in Deadly Hit & Run in Atwater

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An Atwater man is under arrest for a hit and run crash that claimed the life of a 16-year-old boy.<br /><br />The crash happened just before midnight Saturday night on Shaffer Road and Della Drive.<br /><br />30-year-old Jarrod Mellow is in the Merced County Jail. He’s facing charges of manslaughter and felony hit and run.<br /><br />16-year-old Eric Ruiz was killed. <br /><br />A memorial has been set up along Schaffer road where Eric Ruiz was found just before midnight Saturday night.<br /><br />Eric was a Junior at Atwater High. His friends set up the memorial.<br /><br />&quot;It’s like we’re not letting go yet. And we’re still holding on to that little piece of him,&quot; Eric’s friend Zaira Diaz said.<br /><br />Eric was struck and killed Saturday night on Shaffer Road near Olaeta Elementary school. <br /><br />Parts of the car that hit Eric were found at the scene. That evidence and calls from citizens helped lead police to their suspect 30-year-old Jarrod Mellow who lives about a mile from the accident scene. Police found Mellow’s car and arrested him after questioning him.<br /><br />&quot;The evidence found at the scene, like I said, matched up with the vehicle so we know we also have the right vehicle and that we have the right person,&quot; said Sgt. Dick Wisdom, Atwater Police Department.<br /><br />Eric’s friends spent the afternoon collecting donations to help his family pay for the funeral. In four hours, community members donated more than a thousand dollars.<br /><br />&quot;The world we live in you’d think nobody would have the heart to drop by and drop a dollar in there. But we’re learning today is that people actually care,&quot; said Ivan Avalos, Eric’s friend.<br /><br />Atwater resident Felicia Roberts stopped by to pray with the students. Her daughter was struck on the same road twenty years ago and survived.<br /><br />&quot;And I know it’s heavy right now but God will bring them through it,&quot; Roberts said.<br /><br />A fund raising car wash will be held Saturday morning, January 31st, at Atwater High School. It begins at ten in the morning in the parking lot.<br /></div>

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