Settlement possible in fatal hit-and-run
By Janet Lundquist firstname.lastname@example.org February 4, 2013 1:28PM
David H. McCarthy (left) has confessed to killing Melissa Lech (right) in a hit-and-run accident on Aug. 7, 2008.
Updated: March 6, 2013 6:14AM
A Will County judge may close the book later this month on a wrongful death lawsuit filed against a Naperville man who in 2008 allegedly struck and killed a Joliet woman with his car and fled before resurfacing at her sister’s home 31/2 years later.
The family of Melissa Lech, who was 20 when she was hit by a car while walking on McDonough Street in August 2008, last summer filed a wrongful death lawsuit against 28-year-old David McCarthy IV, of Naperville, after he allegedly showed up at Lech’s sister’s home and told her he was driving the car that hit her. Last week, the Lechs filed a petition to settle the lawsuit that said they would like to accept an offer of $250,000.
Attorneys for both sides scheduled a Feb. 25 conference with Will County Judge Michael Powers to discuss the settlement, as it is not clear whether McCarthy will be able to pay that amount, said Frank Cservenyak, whose firm filed the lawsuit for the Lechs.
“We’re exploring settlement options at this time,” Cservenyak said. “It’s difficult because it’s such a tragic loss.”
Naperville attorney David McCarthy, who has represented his son in the civil case, could not be reached for comment.
McCarthy allegedly confessed to Lech’s sister, Michelle, in February 2012.
Lech, a University of Illinois student, was hit by a car in the early morning hours of Aug. 7, 2008, while walking in the 2800 block of McDonough Street after leaving a Joliet sports bar. A driver farther down the road told police he saw taillights brake and swerve before coming across her body and calling 911, but the other vehicle was gone.
Three and a half years later, McCarthy rang Michelle Lech’s doorbell.
Lech has said her husband answered the door, but McCarthy insisted on speaking to her inside the house. She claims McCarthy confessed at her kitchen table to running over her sister and leaving the scene. Joliet police arrested him later that day.
McCarthy was charged with hit-and-run and leaving the scene of an accident involving injury or death and has been held in the county jail in lieu of $1 million bond since then. He is scheduled to appear in court on his criminal case March 26.
The mysterious, fatal hit-and-run case captured local headlines and drew the attention of NASCAR driver Kevin Conway, who featured Melissa Lech’s photo and a plea for information on his car in September 2011 during a nationally televised race at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet. Conway’s racing team, Nemco Motorsports, started featuring local missing persons cases on the back of his car in 2011.