ST. LOUIS — The man suspected of hitting a 17-year-old victim near Ted Drewes and leaving the scene of the crash was charged Wednesday, more than three weeks after he turned himself in to police.
Jacob Adler, 25, was charged with leaving the scene of an accident that resulted in death and tampering with physical evidence in connection with the July 29 crash.
Matthew Nikolai, 17, was crossing Chippewa Avenue in front of the Ted Drewes custard stand in south St. Louis on July 29 when he was struck by a pick-up truck.
A second vehicle then struck him, but the second driver remained at the scene and has not been charged.
According to charging documents, Adler pulled over less than a mile away, walked back to the scene of the crash then returned to his car and drove away.
Police then released surveillance images of the truck along with a description of front-end damage.
Charging documents said Adler drove his truck to an autobody shop in St. Louis County and told the shop manager that he needed to get the body damage from the crash repaired. An employee at the shop recognized the truck from the surveillance images shown by the media and reported the truck to the police.
The shop did not conduct the repairs, and police seized the truck.
After the truck was seized, Adler's attorney contacted the police department to get more information. The attorney told police Adler would turn himself in a few days later. When Adler and his attorney arrived at the precinct, Adler's attorney said his client would be invoking his Fifth Amendment right, but would be turning himself in.
Police then had 24 hours to apply for charges against him with St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner’s Office, or he would be let go.
Prosecutors took the warrant application under advisement, saying they needed more evidence to charge the man, according to the sources.
So, he walked out of jail Aug. 9.
Police conducted a search at Adler's home three days later, seizing the 25-year-old man’s cellphone and some clothing during the search of his home in St. Louis County, according to sources familiar with the investigation.