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COURT DOCS: Suspect in fatal hit-and-run had hood replaced before arrest

lovellette mug

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA21) — Probable cause documents released in the fatal hit-and-run on East State Blvd. show the driver changed the hood of his SUV following the crash in an attempt to conceal the damage.

52-year-old Samuel Lovellette was arrested in connection to a hit-skip crash in the 1000 block of E State Blvd. that killed Keilan Melisa Moreira, 21, of Fort Wayne.

Probable cause documents say police spoke with two witnesses who crossed E State in front of Moreira, who told police she had been struck by a tan SUV in the righthand lane of E State Blvd.

A man who was riding his motorcycle nearby said he saw the first two girls run across the street when the third girl walked out and he heard a thud.

He said he saw Moreira on the hood, and the SUV hit the brakes causing her to call off, but the driver continued running her over.

Police gathered surveillance video from area cameras and sent a release to media with a photo showing Lovellette and the SUV involved in the crash.

Employees at a local pawn shop reached out to police, saying they recognized Lovellette and identified him through transaction records.

A "confidential informant" told police Lovellette had replaced the damaged hood on his SUV, but his fender was still damaged. Police say there were several indications that the hood had been replaced.

The same informant told police where Lovellette was staying, and police were able to locate him and take him into custody without incident.

While police were interviewing Lovellette, he said he was just "driving down State Blvd and all of the sudden he hit something and felt something go under his tire".

He said he didn't know what he hit, but then looked behind him and realized he had hit a person.

He said he freaked out and got scared and drove away.

He said it wasn't his fault and he didn't know if she "fell off the curb or what".

When asked if he had his hood replaced, he said, "I couldn't drive around and look at it all the time." He said he got a hood from a salvage yard and put it on.

He told police he cut up the old hood and threw it away.

Lovellette is currently being charged with leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death and obstruction of justice.

Jazlynn Bebout

Jazlynn Bebout is the Assignment Desk Editor and Digital Editor at WPTA. Follow her on Twitter @jazlynnsb

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