Hadley police get unexpected clue in search for hit-and-run suspect

  • If you squint, you may be able to make out the license plate dents. Hadley Police Department

Thursday, July 13, 2017

HADLEY — Hadley police officers got an unexpected clue July 4 as they investigated a hit-and-run crash on Route 9.

The fender-bender took place at about 1:30 p.m. near the town’s Jiffy Lube near Route 9’s intersection with Maple Street. But one driver — the one who rear-ended a newer model BMW sedan — left the scene, Sgt. Mitchell Kuc said.

There were no injuries, but Kuc said damage to the BMW is likely more than $1,000.

Officers took a look at the BMW’s back bumper, hoping to find a paint transfer that would help them identify the mystery vehicle. Instead, the offending vehicle left a partial imprint of its license plate.

That clue led police to the owner of a Subaru, who was cooperating with police, Kuc said.

“We see it a few times a year,” Kuc said of accidents where the license plate symbols end up printed on another vehicle.

Route 9 is especially prone to accidents, Kuc said, adding that the majority of the 400 to 500 accidents the department deals with each year occur on the town’s main drag.

Kuc said a hit-and-run involving property damage is not an arrestable offense, but officers can issue a summons. The owner of the BMW, Kuc said, did not want to press charges against the Subaru driver, so officers did not issue a summons.

The two drivers are now working to resolve the accident through their insurance companies, Kuc said.

In February, Hadley police got a welcome tip after a man crashed his Toyota Tacoma into a tree on West Street and left the scene. They identified the Tacoma — because the owner left a piece of his bumper behind, with his license plate attached.

Jack Suntrup can be reached at jsuntrup@gazettenet.com.