OLYMPIA, Wash. - The man suspected of driving away after hitting and fatally injuring an 11-year-old boy Sunday near Olympia is now behind bars after turning himself in, the Washington State Patrol reports.
The suspect, identified as Irven F. Jacobs Jr., 51, was arrested Wednesday afternoon. He called police from the Nisqually Red Wind Casino in Yelm and offered to surrender after the State Patrol released his photo to the media and asked for the public's help in tracking him down.
Within minutes of receiving his call, state troopers arrived on scene at the casino and took Jacobs into custody. During questioning, Jacobs "admitted to being behind the wheel during the collision," said Sgt. Clint Thomas of the State Patrol during a Thursday news conference.
Thomas said pressure from media exposure and from his acquaintances convinced Jacobs to turn himself in. He is now being held without bail in the Thurston County Jail for investigation of felony hit-and-run resulting in injury or death.
The hit-and-run crash unfolded at around 5:30 p.m. Sunday off U.S. 101 near Oyster Bay Road when a vehicle struck 11-year-old Isaiah Bermeo as the boy was walking in the left lane of the highway.
Isaiah, who is autistic, had wandered away from his home just minutes before he was struck. He was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle in critical condition and later died of his injuries.
Ron Pfaff, who witnessed the crash and performed CPR on the boy, said there's no way the driver didn't notice the impact.
“I can’t fathom it,” he said. “I can’t. It was a little boy, and he was just young and he was just so broken.”
Thomas said the hit-and-run crash hit investigators "pretty hard."
"They spent long days and long nights out there doing interviews and hard work getting us to where we are today," he said.
Collision reconstruction experts with the State Patrol were able to determine the color and characteristics of the minivan that struck Isaiah. Then, the next day, detectives received a tip that led them to find the vehicle abandoned on a gravel road in Shelton within 10 miles of the collision scene.
Jacobs was then identified as the hit-and-run suspect.
Thomas said it's believed that two other people were in the minivan with Jacobs at the time of the crash, but they were not identified.
Jacobs has at least one previous arrest for reckless driving, records show.