Rugby balls and social media lead police to suspect in deadly hit and run crash

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The State Patrol said social media and the rugby community helped catch a suspect wanted in a deadly hit and run crash in SeaTac early Friday morning. (Photo: KOMO News)

SEATAC, Wash. – The State Patrol said social media and the rugby community helped catch a suspect wanted in a deadly hit and run crash in SeaTac early Friday morning.

A 30-year-old Renton man is in custody after Troopers said a bag of rugby balls found at the crash scene were traced back to him.

“Obviously that’s a very unique thing,” said Trooper Chase Van Cleave with Washington State Patrol. “Rugby balls isn’t common around here. It’s not like basketballs or baseballs so with something as specific as that, it helps us narrow our search.”

Investigators said the suspect hit a 44-year-old man, who was standing outside a car that ran out of gas on Des Moines Memorial Drive and State Route 518. The man, Joshua Coley, was rushed to Harborview Medical Center where he later died.

Troopers said the suspect didn’t stop and drove way leaving a truck wheel and the bag of rugby balls at the scene.

“He drove approximately five to six miles and you can see there’s no wheel left, so there’s a conscious effort to leave the scene,” said Trooper Van Cleave.

Troopers tweeted out a picture of the rugby balls and tips came pouring in from the rugby community all over the country.

Not only were detectives tipped off to the truck’s location, but pressure from the tight knit rugby community forced the suspect to turn himself in with a lawyer.

Investigators are still trying to answer why the suspect didn’t stop in the first place.

“If we’re impaired, from alcohol or drugs or fatigue or texting or whatever the case maybe, don’t drive,” said Van Cleave. “This is the prime example of how it can take somebody’s life.”

The suspect being held at the King County Jail, booked on for investigation of vehicular homicide. He was also denied bail.



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