Bumper fragment could be key in fatal hit-and-run on I-40

From staff reportsSeptember 10, 2013 

— Crash debris found along Interstate 40 near where Weston Michael Vandemerwe was fatally struck has been examined and eliminated as evidence in the case except one piece of fender.

Investigators are hoping the public might be able to help them identify the source of that remaining bumper fragment.

Police spokesman Jim Sughrue said all other vehicle fragments found along the westbound lanes of I-40 near Hammond Road where Vandemerwe’s body was discovered on Aug. 13 have been linked to unrelated wrecks.

Vandemerwe was last seen by friends about 1:30 a.m. on Aug. 10 where they’d been drinking at a bar on Fayetteville Street. He refused a cab ride home and was reported missing by his mother on the afternoon of Aug. 11.

His body was discovered days later by two state transportation workers who were spray-painting guardrails along the interstate, and it was determined that he died of injuries consistent with being hit by a vehicle.

Sughrue said the debris that remains to be explained is from the right corner portion of the front bumper of a dark blue SUV.

Investigators have determined it was part of a 2007-2014 Chevrolet Suburban, Chevrolet Avalanche, Chevrolet Tahoe, GMC Yukon or Cadillac Escalade.

Anyone with information that could help identify and locate the vehicle from which the bumper part originated should call Raleigh Crime Stoppers at 919-834-4357 or visit www.raleighcrimestoppers.org for text and e-mail reporting options. Crime Stoppers pays cash rewards for tips that help solves cases.

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