Arrest made 1 year after deadly hit-and-run crash in Mandarin

William Martindale charged with leaving the scene of a crash involving death

By Erik Avanier - Reporter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - One year and seven days after a fatal hit-and-run pedestrian crash in Mandarin, an arrest was made in the case, according to a Jacksonville Sheriff's Office report.

William Cecil Martindale was taken into custody Monday evening after a warrant was issued for his arrest in connection with the death of 24-year-old Ryan Scott McKeller, of St. Johns County.

Martindale, 38, is charged with leaving the scene of a crash involving death.

For the first time Tuesday, McKeller's family was able to visit his grave site without wondering whether an arrest would ever be made.

"This morning at 7:45, I got a call from Detective Spaulding, letting me know that an arrest has been made in the hit-and-run of my son," Kim Smith, McKeller's mother, told News4Jax. 

Traffic homicide investigators said McKeller was found dead in the early morning hours of Jan. 21, 2018, under his parked SUV on Ricky Drive, off of San Jose Boulevard.

"Even if you couldn’t have helped him, why just leave him there? I’ll never understand that," Smith said.

McKeller's family said he had told them he was going to a house party right before he was fatally struck by a car. The crash happened in front of Kim Gordon's house. 

"(I walked out the door), the SUV was parked here and there was a body sticking out from behind it," Gordon said. "We've been waiting on this call for so long and it was a relief."

Evidence at the scene steered police to a nearby condominium complex, where Martindale lived at the time, according to McKeller's family. 

“The car parts left in the road had a lot to do with that," Smith said. "They were able to trace what kind of car they were looking for."

Martindale’s neighbors said that days after the crash, they noticed his car was parked in the guest parking area, instead of being parked in front of his condo. They also said the car appeared to have a smashed windshield.

According to McKeller's family members, police had their sights on a person of interest, but couldn't make an arrest until lab results came back. 

Tammie Price, McKeller’s aunt, said the family would have been more understanding if the suspect had just come forward.

“Accidents happen," Price said. "You could have shown some heart and some compassion and helped him."

Martindale was released Tuesday from the Duval County jail on $25,000 bond, according to online jail records. When News4Jax went to his apartment Tuesday night, he said that he didn't want to make any comments. 

Duval County court records show he has previous traffic citations.

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