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NASCAR driver who helped draw attention to case of woman killed in hit-and-run accident sees efforts go for naught

Jun 12, 2014, 7:43 PM EDT

kevin conway

When NASCAR driver Kevin Conway placed a cold case photo and information on his Nationwide Series car of a young woman who was killed in a 2008 hit-and-run accident, the odds were slim that it would lead to the person who struck and killed Melissa Lech.

Somehow, the longshot of having the photo and information on Conway’s car during a 2011 race at Chicagoland Speedway ultimately worked, as David McCarthy IV eventually confessed to the crime.

According to an ABC News report in February 2012, McCarthy allegedly went to the home of Lech’s sister and confessed, claiming his conscience had been eating at him ever since “the NASCAR thing.”

McCarthy left Lech’s sister’s house without identifying himself, but Lech’s brother-in-law got the license plate off McCarthy’s car and notified police, who arrested McCarthy shortly afterward.

He was charged with causing personal injury and leaving the scene of an accident and held on a $1 million bond.

With McCarthy’s confession again told to arresting officers, it appeared to be a slam-dunk case for conviction. After McCarthy’s arrest and when he was told that his race car helped solve the case, Conway said at the time he was “thrilled” and added “I hope this brings an element of closure so (Lech’s family) can begin the healing process.”

Unfortunately, Lech’s family is once again seeking justice as on Thursday in a Will County (Ill.) courtroom, McCarthy had all charges against him dropped.

The rare reversal came as prosecutors, defense attorneys and the judge all agreed McCarthy’s alleged confessions were false because he suffers from a mental disorder that causes delusions, and that evidence did not match his account of the incident.

Sadly, that puts the Lech family back where it started when Melissa was first killed in the hit-and-run incident in Joliet, Ill., just a few miles from Chicagoland Speedway.

Conway, who was Sprint Cup Rookie of the Year in 2010, hasn’t raced in NASCAR since that 2011 season. He won the┬áNorth American Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo Series Pro-Am championship in 2013.

Follow me @JerryBonkowski

  1. techmeister1 - Jun 12, 2014 at 8:48 PM

    The world can be very cruel sometimes. All you can hope is that there is a judgment day for everyone and that justice prevails in the end. Hopefully they will find the true criminal in this case if McCarthy isn’t the one.

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