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Arrests made in fatal hit-and-run accident

Deputies: Casey McLendon, 23, was found in roadway after being hit by vehicle

Alexandra Perrella, John Crosby (Photos courtesy of the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office)
Alexandra Perrella, John Crosby (Photos courtesy of the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office)

ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. – A St. Johns County man and woman were arrested Tuesday and are facing charges in connection with the hit and run that killed a man in St. Augustine Beach more than six months ago.

It took more than six months, but now John Crosby, 33 and Alexandra Perella, 31, are behind bars, charged in the hit and run death of 23-year-old Casey McLendon.

St. Johns County deputies had been investigating two people since the night of the crash, but couldn’t make an arrest then. Now, the man is charged with a DUI and leaving the scene of a deadly crash. Investigators said his girlfriend was an accessory after the fact.

“Fortunately in this case we only knew that a case would come forward as long as the investigation evidence lined up and it did,” said Cmdr. Chuck Mulligan, St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office.

In June, neighbors found McLendon in the roadway on A1A South in St. Augustine Beach. He had been hit by a vehicle.

A short time later, authorities found a damaged truck, and questioned the owner who admitted to hitting something, but didn’t stop to investigate. It wasn’t until Tuesday that law enforcement made an arrest.

Deputies said it’s because they were waiting for the toxicology report, autopsy results and for the vehicle to be examined.

“We don't mind a little bit of a wait when we know that we are going to make a more concrete case. It's the cases where we don't have the vehicle, we couldn't find the driver so in this case yes it took a little time but that this day would come as long as all the evidence lined up and in this case it did,” Mulligan said.

News4Jax learned more about why Perella is being charged too.

According to deputy reports Crosby hit McLendon, drove home and told his Perrella he hit a deer.

Investigators said Perella drove to the scene, saw all the first responders and a shoe in the roadway, and knew Crosby had hit a person.

Deputies said the two decided to hide Crosby’s pickup truck in Perella’s garage, so she got behind the wheel of the truck and he followed in her car. A St. Augustine police officer noticed the damage to the truck and pulled them over.

The officer questioned the couple and gave Crosby a blood alcohol test which came back at .117.

Crosby also had valium in his system. Yet even with that evidence, deputies couldn’t make an arrest in connection with the hit and run.

”It just takes time and that is not uncommon for us,” Mulligan. “A general time frame once your blood comes back is an extra month or so but many times it may take a couple of months before we get those back.”

Deputies were able to make the arrest of the two Tuesday. Investigators said know they don’t always have the evidence they had in this case in other deadly hit and run investigations, and that’s when they say the community is more important than ever.

“A lot of times it's the eyes and ears of the community that will call us, give us tips anonymous or straightforward and that is really the key that puts us on a path,” Mulligan said. “And then eventually hopefully we find individuals responsible.”

In 2004, Crosby was cited for speeding, no proof of insurance and having unsafe equipment. Now he’s charged with a DUI and leaving the scene of a crash with death.

Perella is charged with accessory after the fact to leaving the scene of a crash with death.