Mankato Police say the driver involved in the hit and run that killed a former Blue Earth County Commissioner earlier this week has come forward.
Commander Dan Schisel said just after 11:00 Thursday night, 36-year-old Abby Zoellmer of North Mankato was arrested, and is facing a preliminary charge of criminal vehicular homicide. He explained, “A female came into, actually, the Blue Earth County Justice Center and wanted to turn herself in and we brought her down here to talk with her. So, we have made an arrest in regards to this hit and run fatality accident.”
Police say 88-year-old William Maher was found dead Wednesday morning on East Main Street, and debris left at the scene pointed to a 1999 to 2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee having been involved. Schisel said Zoelmer’s vehicle does match the description of the one that hit Maher. “It is a 2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo. We even had people who repair these vehicles come forward and give us descriptions of what we should be looking for,” Schisel said, and added, “It’s just amazing the support that came out to try to have this person turn themselves in.”
In addition, Schisel said several area law enforcement agencies spent their time knocking on the doors of the drivers of Jeeps, trying to locate the vehicle involved.
Several people who knew Maher have said he was suffering from dementia, and Schisel said, “After we responded to the incident location in East Mani Street, there was a call received that he was missing from his residence.”
In an interview, Schisel said Zoellmer admitted to having been involved and, “Indicated that they were driving, that they hit the individual, and that they continued on.” More details will be released in the criminal complaint, which could come out as early as Friday.
Mankato Department of Public Safety personnel are currently processing vehicle.
Schisel said he spoke with Maher’s wife Friday morning and, “In our conversation, it was just a tragedy for all parties involved.”
A Memorial Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 11:30 a.m., Monday at SS Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Mankato. Visitation will be from 9:30 until the time of the service at the church on Monday. Maher will be buried in Calvary Cemetery.