Local News

Debris may help ID vehicle in fatal I-40 hit-and-run

Posted September 10, 2013

Weston Vandemerwe was reported missing on Aug. 11, 2013, and his body was found along Interstate 40 in south Raleigh two days later.
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— Police said Tuesday that they may have identified the type of vehicle involved in a hit-and-run last month that killed a man on Interstate 40 in Raleigh.

Weston Vandermerwe, 23, was found Aug. 13 under a guardrail on westbound I-40 near Hammond Road. A police report indicates that Vandermerwe was likely walking along the highway when a vehicle merging from the Hammond Road on-ramp hit him, throwing him about 95 feet.

Raleigh Police Department crash investigators recovered a number of items of potential evidence at the scene, including pieces of debris from vehicles. Police said every piece of vehicle debris except one has been linked to other wrecks and eliminated as being related to the fatal hit-and-run.

The remaining piece of debris is from the right corner portion of the front bumper of a dark blue SUV, police said. Investigators have determined it was part of a 2007-2014 Chevrolet Suburban, Chevrolet Avalanche, Chevrolet Tahoe, GMC Yukon or Cadillac Escalade.

Investigators said they hope the public can locate the SUV from which the bumper part came to determine if it was involved in Vandermerwe's death.

"The debris they found could be a lead," said Becky Daly, Vandermerwe's mother. "If there is someone (who knows something), I hope they would come forward."

Weston Vandemerwe Police: Debris from dark SUV could be lead in fatal hit-and-run

Anyone with information is asked to call Raleigh Crime Stoppers at 919-834-4357.

Vandermerwe, an East Carolina University graduate, was last seen about 2 miles away from the crash scene at The Oxford, on Fayetteville Street in downtown Raleigh, at about 1:30 a.m. on Aug. 10.

Daly said the grief has been overwhelming, but she has found some peace.

"It is the worst thing ever not to have him here everyday, to not see him everyday, to not have him here. It's awful," she said. "(But) I am at peace. I know the police have done their job. They have tried their best."

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  • Paul M Sep 11, 2013

    Reading some of these post just makes me scratch my head and think WOW

  • buford Sep 11, 2013

    I really do hope they find out who hit him, but I cant help but wonder,....... this is a major highway, how do they know it was someone from around here? - shortcake53

    I think they are thinking it's someone more local since the person was coming from the Hammond Road ramp onto I-40, not actually on I-40 yet.
    -

  • kellypsnll Sep 11, 2013

    I was wondering about that. I was curious to find out if it was a dark blue caravan before this story came out. I only say that because someone in my development seemed to be trying to hide the fact that he had damage to the front of his van. But I am sure that whatever debris remained at the scene had GM labeling to identify it. Hope they find out soon who did this so the family can have closure.

  • Trixie Sep 11, 2013

    They left him there for dead. Not even knowing if he was still alive. That's cold.

  • shortcake53 Sep 11, 2013

    I really do hope they find out who hit him, but I cant help but wonder,....... this is a major highway, how do they know it was someone from around here?

  • OpinionatedMama Sep 11, 2013

    I agree that so many today don't realize that a huge vehicle will win if you're in the way and get hit. And people these days don't care and walk in the way of traffic all the time like they're daring to be hit.

  • Chloe93o Sep 11, 2013

    My prayers are with his parents. I hope they can get some closure.

  • btneast Sep 11, 2013

    This does narrow it down, very much... Either someone still has the damage, or has had the repairs fixed recently within this time frame, but only if it is a local vehicle

    I wish you were right, but that only works IF they get it fixed. Lots of folks ride around with slight bumper damage. Also, they have not linked this mystery vehicle to this incident, it is just the only pieces that cannot be linked to "other" accidents.

  • JustOneGodLessThanU Sep 11, 2013

    The pedestrian has some responsibility if he was in the road way.

    That said, Hit-and-Run is exactly the behavior that I expect from people who drive these giant I-don't-care-about-anyone-but-myself vehicles. There's even a great "Simpsons" episode that pokes fun at the power trip of these folks - sending them to anger management classes.

    http://simpsons.wikia.com/wiki/Marge_Simpson_in:_%22Screaming_Yellow_Honkers%22

  • lisaclark2 Sep 11, 2013

    "Way he walking on I-40? In the dark, is this legal?" If it were illegal their would be signs posted on I -40. People do break down and exit their cars to walk up to the next exit especially if they don't have phones. It is illegal to hit and run though..

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