Arrest in hit-and-run crash after anonymous tip

Before 10:00 p.m. last night, law enforcement investigators were able to make an arrest in the Moultrie Road hit-and-run collision that occurred at 5:40 a.m. in St Augustine and left its victim clinging to life; and, this morning, Sheriff David B Shoar is crediting the immediate media response for prompting a good citizen to make an anonymous tip.

Historic City News Editor, Michael Gold, a former St Johns County deputy sheriff and licensed private investigator, knows the value of citizen contributions to the law enforcement mission. “We can’t afford to have a cop on every street corner; but, that is what it would take to replace the value of observant citizens who, when made aware of a crime, are willing to come forward with facts than can help police to solve their case,” Gold said.

Just before 7:00 a.m., after traffic homicide investigators were on the scene, public information officer Sergeant Charles E. Mulligan and Media Relations Officer Kevin Kelshaw were feeding details about the crime to the media.

Local reporters at Historic City News published the story to the Internet and Google News service as it was happening, Jacksonville television stations and radio stations were willing to break in with details as they became available.

By noon, a grainy, but usable, surveillance video clip was made available. Combined with evidence collected at the scene, investigators announced that the crash vehicle was a 1999 – 2003 Ford Windstar minivan.

While the victim, 30-year-old Nathaniel Callahan, was in a fight for his life at Flagler Hospital, law enforcement and news media were working together to locate his assailant. The Sheriff’s Office is saying that cooperation paid off.

Last night, deputies arrested 43 year-old Marc Edward Lilly who resides at 2637 Gorda Bella Ave in St Augustine after analyzing the available evidence, interviewing witnesses, and using information obtained from the tip to determine that Lilly is the owner of a 2000 Ford Windstar that matched the van in the surveillance video.

Lilly is charged with leaving the scene of a crash with serious injury and two counts of leaving the scene of a crash with damage to property. Additional charges are pending the outcome of the victim’s medical treatment and further investigation. Lilly is currently in custody at the St Johns County Detention Facility in lieu of $40,000 bond.

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