Delaware man person of interest in fatal hit-skip crash

By Andrew Carter

A Columbus woman was the victim of a fatal hit-skip crash Monday morning in Westerville.

Westerville Police Chief Joseph Morbitzer said the deceased has been identified as Linda J. Evans, 66, who was struck while jogging along Park Meadow Road near Schrock Road. Morbitzer said officers were called to the scene at 9:47 a.m. Monday after a passerby reported seeing the woman’s body in the brush off the roadway.

Morbitzer said officers have arrested Jonathan B. Coffman, 32, Delaware, and charged him with operating a vehicle under the influence. The chief said Coffman is “a person of interest in the hit-skip accident” in which Evans was killed.

“Right now, we’ve interviewed witnesses in the area,” Morbitzer said during a press conference Monday afternoon. “We have one witness who saw a male exit his vehicle, look at the damage to his vehicle, get back in, and then drive away. Officers, doing very good police work, were able to locate the suspect vehicle at 800 Brooksedge Boulevard. It had damage consistent with a hit-skip accident; and that vehicle registers to Mr. Coffman.

Morbitzer said the investigation is ongoing and Coffman is being interviewed. The chief said a search warrant was being prepared to obtain a blood sample from Coffman. A warrant was also being sought to search his vehicle. The chief said, to his knowledge, Coffman had no prior OVI arrests.

“He’s cooperative,” Morbitzer said, describing officers’ interaction with Coffman. “We’ll take his statement into account, look at the physical evidence, and then determine if other charges are to be filed.”

According to Morbitzer, Coffman is an employee at JP Morgan Chase in Westerville.

“We are working very closely with JP Morgan Chase,” Morbitzer said. “They’ve been very cooperative. We have a very good working relationship with them, so it’ll be very helpful to further this investigation.”

Morbitzer said the area in which Evans was struck and killed is popular with runners.

“From what we understand, she’s an avid runner,” he said during the press conference. “So, it’s not unusual with the pathway system to have people running in that area. I’m not sure if this was part of a set route for her or not.”

Morbitzer said more information will be released as the investigation progresses.

By Andrew Carter

Reach Andrew Carter at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @DelOhioEditor.

Reach Andrew Carter at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @DelOhioEditor.