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Police search suspected fatal hit-and-run driver's home

Police believe the man was driving the truck that hit and killed a high school student in front of Ted Drewes Frozen Custard.

ST. LOUIS — St. Louis police served a search warrant Friday at the home of a suspected hit-and-run driver who police believe struck and killed a 17-year-old CBC High School student earlier this month, 5 On Your Side has learned.

Police seized 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.

5 On Your Side is not naming him because he has not yet been charged with a crime.

Matthew Nikolai, 17, was crossing Chippewa Avenue in front of the Ted Drewes custard stand in south St. Louis Aug. 1 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.

The driver of the pick-up truck left.

Police then released surveillance images of the truck along with a description of front-end damage.

Sources told 5 On Your Side the driver of the pick-up brought it to an auto body shop in St. Louis County and someone from that store called police believing the truck matched the description.

The suspected driver is not the registered owner of the truck. It belongs to one of his relatives, according to sources.

The man then turned himself in at St. Louis Police Headquarters on Aug. 8, telling police only that he knew they were looking for him. He did not make any statements about the incident, and was arrested on suspicion of leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death and evidence tampering, according to the sources.

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.

Three days after that is when police searched the man’s home.

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