Police arrest suspect in hit-and-run that killed Mike Wang last summer – UPDATED

Photo from the press conference.

Police say they have arrested the person they suspect struck and killed Mike Wang on Dexter Ave Last year. Details will be announced at an 11 a.m. press conference.

UPDATE: The suspect is Erlin Garcia Reyes, 28, from Normandy Park. Police said the information currently available to release is limited and up to the prosecutors to release.

Police went to Garcia Reyes’ home Wednesday to interview him about the incident. After the interview, they placed him under arrest. He has not yet been charged.

The arrest was the result of “good old fashioned police work” and help from the community, said Detective Tom Bacon. They said the $6,000 reward offered by the Taiwanese Association was likely a factor in solving the case, though they said no one tip really lead to the arrest on its own.

“We take these crimes very seriously, and we’re not going to give up,” said Assistant Chief Paul McDonagh.

“I hope the prosecutors will do their jobs,” said John Choe of the Taiwanese Association, who mentioned that Wang’s father is an active member of the group.

While nothing can bring back Mike Wang (or Brad Nakatani or Robert Townsend), speakers hoped that this might lead to a little closure in the case and send a message that everyone needs to slow down and take care of each other on the roads.

KIRO has posted video of the full press conference online. We will have more information once prosecutors release it.

UPDATE 12:30pm: Seattle Times reports that Garcia Reyes was recently arrested days ago and charged with a second hit-and-run, this time involving a 76 gas station window and door:

In that case, Garcia-Reyes was a passenger in a vehicle that drove into the parking lot of the 76 gas station at 10500 Greenwood Ave. N. on Sunday. Instead of pulling straight into a parking stall, the vehicle went over the curb, striking the store’s front window and glass door, charging documents say.

The driver jumped into the vehicle’s back seat and Garcia -Reyes got into the driver’s seat and drove away from the scene, according to the court documents. Police and prosecutors say the incident was caught on the gas station’s video surveillance.

According to court documents, Garcia-Reyes then went to his girlfriend’s home, called 911 and reported his vehicle stolen. The unoccupied vehicle was located at an apartment complex in the 10300 block of Fremont Ave. N., the documents say.

Garcia-Reyes was charged in that case with hit and run and false reporting on Monday.

UPDATE 3:45pm: The Seattle Times reports that the probable cause statement from prosecutors says investigators started focusing on Garcia-Reyes in April. Investigators say he admitted to the hit-and-run during their interview Wednesday:

According to a statement of  probable cause released this afternoon by the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, police began focusing on the suspect, Garcia-Reyes, in April. Police said his silver 2002 Chevrolet Suburban matched the description of the vehicle that struck Wang.

The affidavit says police interviewed Garcia-Reyes at his home on Wednesday and he said he was involved in the collision and fled the scene.

UPDATE 7:30pm: SPD has released a photo of the suspect’s vehicle, which has been impounded:

From SPD

Original story:

Mike Wang

Wang was biking home north on Dexter from his job at PATH when a car described as a brown SUV made a quick left turn onto Thomas and struck him. Witnesses said the SUV stopped, paused, then sped away.

In March, the Taiwanese Association of Greater Seattle offered a $6,000 reward for information that led to an arrest in the case.

Stay tuned for more information.

From SPD:

WHAT: Seattle Police Traffic Collision Investigation Squad detectives have solved the July 28, 2011 hit and run case near Dexter Avenue N and N Thomas Street that killed Michael Wang.

WHEN: Today at 11 AM.

WHERE: Seattle Police Headquarters, 610 5th Avenue, Lower Level Conference Room

WHO: Assistant Chief Paul McDonagh will be joined by representatives from the Cascade Bicycle Club, PATH and the Taiwanese Association of Greater Seattle.

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31 Responses to Police arrest suspect in hit-and-run that killed Mike Wang last summer – UPDATED

  1. Devin says:

    I’m so glad to hear that they’ve found the killer. It won’t bring Mike Wang back, but hopefully it can provide his family with some closure.

    Also, kudos to SPD for treating this crime with the seriousness that it deserves.

    • Devin says:

      No video for the press conference though? I couldn’t find it on the SPD website or Seattle Channel Website.

  2. Nikki says:

    This is great news. Honestly I figured they just gave up.

  3. -b- says:

    Press conference at 11:00 am.

  4. no traffic lights says:

    Garcia-Reyes’ facebook photo shows him with a giant tan suburban with big rims.

  5. Brian Todd says:

    Kudos to the SPD for calling this a “crime” at the presser, not an “accident.”

  6. Richard says:

    Great news. The killer’s facebook page no longer exists.

    • Al Dimond says:

      Let’s not be hasty about labeling people killers. It took a long time to determine a suspect, and while it’s surely right to be angry at the perpetrator of such a heinous offense as hit-and-run, we don’t yet know if that man is this man.

      Let’s just hope that justice is done for everyone, that the truth comes out, and that people are reminded to be responsible on the roads.

      • Tom Fucoloro says:

        Agreed. We don’t know the details yet. We only have SPD’s word at this point. As of 12:50 p.m., he hasn’t even been officially charged yet.

    • sb says:

      It still seems to load for me.

    • Wik says:

      Incorrect.

  7. Daniel says:

    Yea and in addition to the SUV pic he has a Virgen Mary tattoo.

  8. Ted Quanstrom says:

    Without ever having met Mike, I feel a relief reading this news today. It’s like some weight has been lifted off my shoulders.

    • Russ Milham says:

      He was a friend of mine. Some weight has been lifted, but not very much.

      • Russ says:

        Im sorry Russ, 2 lives shattered 1 gone another will behind bars and all the families will suffer. I pray for healing for all involved.

  9. Wik says:

    Whatever happened to innocent until proven guilty?

    • JAT says:

      That burden of proof still exists in the court system, so don’t worry about that. The feeling here, that the criminal hit and run killing of a fellow cyclist nearly a year ago was never going to be solved and was not a high priority with the police serving a generally motorist-centric populous and that we were wrong about that, and that engenders some relief, seems entirely justified to me.

      I have no doubt that due process and a fair trial, if it comes to that, will ensue. If you genuinely have any worries about innocent until proven guilty, you should make those arguments on the comment thread of the Times and P-I where the suspect’s surname engenders an apparent presumption of illegal immigration status.

      • Russ Milham says:

        Really, his surname does that? I will have to check that out. I confess that I have been so distracted by his admission to crushing my friend Mike with his great big car, and then driving away for a year, to stop to consider that he might have any residency status issues. Why in God’s name would I care about that? Today, and for all days going forward, I care about Claire, Sylvie, and Walter.

  10. Steve A says:

    Thank God. Now due process can begin and I am convinced that it will be exactly fair, impartial, and thorough as it should be in all such cases.

  11. Breadbaker says:

    When you consider all the bad publicity SPD has had recently, it’s nice to see a story that indicates that they didn’t just file it away. It took serious police work to make the connections here. As someone whose car window was broken into downtown and was basically told that the SPD wasn’t particularly interested in the crime, I’m glad to see that they took this far more consequential crime seriously.

  12. Erik G. says:

    Suspect in Seattle fatal hit and run of bicyclist is illegal alien

    http://mynorthwest.com/?nid=11&sid=690220

  13. Pingback: Cars as Metaphors for Cars: the Killer Cars Edition | Riding on Roadways

  14. Todd says:

    If this is indeed the dude, this is GREAT news.

  15. Pingback: Garcia-Reyes pleads guilty to hit and run that killed Mike Wang | Seattle Bike Blog

  16. Pingback: Cars as Metaphors for Cars: the Killer Cars Edition | G & O Family Cyclery

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