Richmond police announce arrest in hit and run

June 14, 2012 7:57:47 PM PDT
The deadly hit-and-run crash that killed a man in a wheelchair in Richmond last fall has gone unsolved for months, but on Thursday police announced a break in the case and it came about in an unlikely way.

Holding back tears of gratitude, family members thanked Richmond police for making an arrest in the killing of 52-year-old David Cox. Confined to a wheelchair most of his life, Cox was crossing the street last September when police say he was struck by a black Lexus and left lying on the pavement. He died on the way to the hospital, igniting community outrage, but there were no arrests until now.

"Even if we're not able to solve a case right away, that doesn't mean those cases go out of sight and out of mind," said Richmond Police Chief Chris Magnus.

In fact, Richmond police say it was an undercover drug operation that first led them to 25-year-old Daniel Barnett from El Sobrante. Narcotics officers posing as drug buyers spent months gathering tips that linked Barnett to the black Lexus and the fatal crash.

"We were subsequently able to obtain the vehicle that had damage consistent with that from the collision. We also were able to get admissions from Mr. Barnett during the undercover operation where he personally spoke of his involvement in the hit and run," said Richmond Police Sgt. Joey Schlemmer.

Working with federal agents, Richmond police say they tracked down Barnett on a drug warrant and caught him after a short chase.

"He was found to be in possession of illegal narcotics and a large amt of cash," said Richmond Police Det. Nicole Abetkov.

While he sat in jail, they got their case together to charge him with vehicular manslaughter, and felony hit and run. Cox's sister told police she's thankful for their hard work on the case.


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