Woman, 55, arrested after fatally running down girl, 14, fleeing scene

SAN BERNARDINO — A 55-year-old San Bernardino woman who officials allege fled the scene after fatally running down 14-year-old, Jade Maldonado as she walked to school last month was arrested this morning, CHP announced today..

Maldonado was walking across Pacific St. at Glasgow Ave. inside a marked cross walk when she was first struck and then run over by a tan SUV. She had been heading to Pacific High School just a half mile from where she was hit. Surveillance footage was obtained early in CHP’s investigation and officials released the video within hours, while pleading for information about the suspect.

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Despite having “very little information to work with in the beginning,” following a two-week investigation CHP arrested Charlean Larue Welch in connection with the deadly hit and run.

CHP Officer Brian Alvarez said today that tips from the public and investigators who “worked day and night, without ceasing,” helped crack the case and led to Welch’s identification and arrest this morning.

She was arrested at the San Bernardino CHP office at 10:38 a.m. As of this report, she had not yet been booked into jail and Alvarez did not specify the charges she was expected to be booked on.

CHP began investigating the hit and run just after 7 a.m., Sept. 28, after witnesses reported seeing what was later determined to be a tan Chevy Suburban flee after first hitting Maldonado and then running over her body.

Witnesses said the SUV was traveling 40 to 50 mph, despite the posted 25 mph speed limit through the residential area and school zone. Witnesses also reported that despite running over and crushing the victim’s body, the driver – later identified as Welch – never stopped or even slowed down and did not attempt to render aid to the critically injured victim as she lay dying in the street.

SEE ORIGINAL STORY: CHP searching for SUV & woman who fled after fatally striking girl walking to school

Although Maldonado sustained major, life-threatening injuries, she was initially conscious and alert according to witnesses. One man later said the young victim tried several times to get up, while complaining that she could not breathe. She reportedly lost consciousness a few moments later and paramedics rushed the teen to Loma Linda University Medical Center’s trauma center. Despite undergoing emergency surgery she died later that day at 1:26 p.m.

Although Alverez did not elaborate on what broke the case, he later thanked CHP’s “partners in the media who broadcasted the information we disseminated and all the citizens who called in and used social media to provide information.”

Maldonado’s family has established a GoFundMe campaign to help raise funds for funeral costs and other expenses. The page has raised more than $10,000 over the last nine days.

 

Contact the writer: trevor.rcns@gmail.com

Trevor Montgomery, 47, recently moved to the Intermountain area of Shasta County from Riverside County and runs Riverside County News Source and Shasta County News Source. Additionally, he writes for several other news organizations; including Riverside County based newspapers, Valley News, The Valley Chronicle, and Anza Valley Outlook; as well as Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County and Mountain Echo in Shasta County.

Trevor spent 10 years in the U.S. Army as an Orthopedic Specialist before joining the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in 1998. He was medically retired after losing his leg, breaking his back, and suffering both spinal cord and brain injuries in an off-duty accident. (Click here to see segment of Discovery Channel documentary of Trevor’s accident.)

During his time with the sheriff’s department, Trevor worked at several different stations; including Robert Presley Detention Center, Southwest Station in Temecula, Hemet/Valle Vista Station, Ben Clark Public Safety Training Center, and Lake Elsinore Station; along with other locations.

Trevor’s assignments included Corrections, Patrol, DUI Enforcement, Boat and Personal Water-Craft based Lake Patrol, Off-Road Vehicle Enforcement, Problem Oriented Policing Team, and Personnel/Background Investigations. He finished his career while working as a Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Investigator and was a court-designated expert in child abuse and child sex-related crimes.

Trevor has been married for more than 28 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and his “fluid family” includes 13 children and 14 – but soon to be 16 – grandchildren.

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