Family speaks out after arrest of fatal hit-and-run suspect - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Family speaks out after arrest of fatal hit-and-run suspect

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WSIL -- The family of a hit-and-run accident victim speaks out following the arrest of a suspect, seven months later.

Earlier this year, on January 5 a hit-and-run crash on Interstate 64, near Nashville, killed 93-year-old Ervin Goeden and severely injured his wife Patricia. The couple had been married for 42 years.

Karen Goeden, Ervin's niece, described them as soul mates, "They did everything together. They could talk about anything. They liked to read. They liked to travel. It was just a remarkable relationship that they had."

Police say Eugene Tomasello was driving his step-father Ervin and mother Patricia in a silver Toyota Avalon around 5 p.m, when a black 2007 Cadillac CTS came up behind them at a high rate of speed, passed them on the left, then merged back into the right lane too early, striking the Toyota. The impact caused the car to veer of the roadway and crash into a tree. 

Tomasello says the Cadillac appeared to be going 100 miles per hour. The family from Omaha was traveling to Florida and planned on staying in Mt.Vernon for the night. 

Now, police believe they have arrested the suspect responsible for the fatal crash: Caitlin R. Happach of Woodlawn, Illinois. 

Goeden says the family knew law enforcement had leads and were patiently waiting, "I don't know how she could continue her life ... and not have a conscious and no remorse to come forward to admit that she had done wrong. I have heard that her father hid the vehicle so it wouldn't be found. "

On August 6th, prosecutors charged Happach with two counts of failure to report an accident involving personal injury or death and reckless homicide. All felonies. The 26-year-old was arrested the very next day and taken to Jefferson County Jail, where she posted bond and was later released. 

Karen says the arrest brings some closure, but the family will not have full closure until Happach is behind bars.

A friend of Happach maintains they were together the night of the crash playing with their children and that police have arrested the wrong suspect. Happach's first court appearance is set for September 4. 

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