MESA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -- Thanks to witnesses, cell phone data and surveillance video, police have arrested an Apache Junction woman they believe to be responsible for a deadly hit-and-run a month ago.
Officers arrested Lori Ann Clardy, 53, on Monday, Dec. 10.
The wreck happened just after 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 13 at Broadway Road and 86th Street, which is west of the Loop 202 Red Mountain Freeway.
[ORIGINAL STORY: Person killed in hit-and-run crash in Mesa]
The direct complaint the Maricopa County Attorney's Office filed against Clardy identifies the victim as Helena Selina Rodriguez.
According to court paperwork, the Mesa Police Department received a report the next morning about a car abandoned less than a mile from the scene.
“The damage sustained to the vehicle was consistent with striking a pedestrian,” the probable cause for arrest report reads. “Biological matter was located on the hood and in the windshield. The left headlamp contained broken lens pieces within the headlight assembly. A broken piece still on the vehicle as a perfect match to one of the broken pieces collected from the collision scene the night before.”
Police say surveillance video from a nearby home shows the car passing by twice. A blond woman was behind the wheel; she was the only one in the car.
Police determined that Clardy is the registered owner of the car, saying it’s under her former married name, Hoyt. Police also say officers found several items that belong to Clardy inside the car and a witness who saw her near the car that night picked her out of a photo lineup.
While trying to locate Clardy, investigators talked to one of her co-workers.
“Only after Lori spoke with this co-worker and discovered the police were looking for her did Lori contact Apache Junction PD and claimed her vehicle had been stolen,” according to the probable cause for arrest statement.
Police said Clardy told AJPD that she had parked her car at the Horizon Wellness Center, which is near her home, at about 3:30 p.m. the day of the wreck.
“Lori claims to remain at the wellness center until dark when she walks home and leaves her unsecured vehicle, with the keys in the driver’s visor, in the parking lot of the wellness center,” according to court documents.
Investigators got a warrant for Clardy’s cell phone records and used the location data to track her movements in the hours leading up to the crash. That data places the phone at the scene of the crash at the time it happened.
“In looking at the location data of Lori’s phone after the collision it follows a path and pace of someone walking away from the collision scene and eventually returning to the area of Lori’s residence in Apache Junction (a distance of about 9 miles),” police wrote in court documents.
Investigators said video from a business in the area showed Clardy walking, cell phone in hand. The location data from the phone, which was used to contact police in Apache Junction and Mesa, matches the business location.
Police requested a secure release for Clardy and that her passport be seized, citing her lack of employment and an unstable living situation.
They also said that she has told her family that she wants to go home to the Dominican Republic "or go to China to 'teach.'"
According to court documents, "Lori has refused numerous attempts to contact her by PD" and "left the country to go to Peru following the collision."
[APP USERS: Lori Clardy's public court paperwork]