Hit-and-run victim relieved after suspect arrested

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Justin Erickson By Catherine Holland Justin Erickson By Catherine Holland

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Tempe Police have arrested the man they believe was behind the wheel during a Memorial Day hit-and-run near Rural Road and Broadway.

Authorities said they located the suspect’s vehicle over the weekend and arrested Justin Allen Erickson, 19, late Sunday morning.

“By leaving the scene of the accident and the extensive serious physical injury to the victim, it means that the driver is facing felony criminal charges for leaving the scene of that hit-and-run accident,” Sgt. Jeff Glover said.

Jessica Durand, 25, was the victim in the case and said she was relieved to learn of the arrest.

"If he would have at least stayed and made sure I was OK and even just left a note of an apology at least just showing he felt some kind of a remorse...I probably wouldn't be as upset," she said.

Durand suffered numerous injuries, including multiple fractures and broken teeth. She was also placed in a medically induced coma for several days following the accident.

She and her husband say they are happy police have a suspect, but say they actually feel a little bit of sympathy for Erickson because he is so young.

 

"I was really angry, I wanted this guy to pay," said Durand's husband ,Justin, "but you find out he's 19, he just threw his whole life away and all he had to do was stop."

According to Tempe police, Erickson admitted his involvement in the wreck during an interview with officers. Glover said Erickson went on to tell investigators he left the scene of the wreck because he was drunk at the time of the crash.
 
"One of the things he told investigators was he had some alcohol that night and he was impaired, and in that instance he was basically in a panic after the collision and took off and fled," Sgt. Glover said.

 

Erickson was released from Tempe City jail but will likely be charged with leaving the scene of an injury accident, which, under ARS 28-661B, is a class 2 felony. If convicted, he could face up to five years in prison.