DES MOINES, Iowa – Police identified the man killed in a hit and run accident Sunday night in Des Moines and said the woman they arrested in his death initially gave them a false name.
Des Moines police said the victim in the hit and run was 33-year-old Matthew Otto of Des Moines. The woman arrested in his death has been identified as 22-year-old Oleaf Teoh. Police said Teoh gave them a false name to start with, but fingerprints were used to learn her new identity.
"What happens a lot of times, when people lie to us about who they are, if they are able to get in and out of the jail, with us believing they are someone else, then we issue a warrant when they don't show up for court and then we go out and arrest the wrong person," Sgt. Paul Parizek said.
Teoh was booked into the Polk County Jail early Monday morning on several charges including vehicular homicide-OWI.
Police were called to the 2800 hundred block of Urbandale Avenue just after 9:00 p.m. Sunday on a report of an SUV that struck a man. When emergency crews arrived at the scene Teoh was no longer there.
"They were both going westbound. So according to a witness we have they were both going westbound. Now, whether he was crossing the street at a diagonal angle or just walking straight westbound they were both going westbound and she hit him," Sgt. Paul Parizek said.
Teoh is charged with vehicular homicide-OWI, vehicular homicide by reckless driving, leaving the scene of an accident causing death, two counts of neglect or abandonment of a dependent person, and driving while license suspended.
Witness Raquel Lopez said people speed on Urbandale Avenue all the time and the Teoh did not stop.
"People hit a deer, you stop. That girl is so crazy, they don't stop. I see what happened to that man. See the guy roll on the floor, she no stop. She don't care," Lopez said.
Lopez said she was one of the people who called 911 and actually heard the crash while taking out the garbage.
"Last night, I go late, dumping the garbage in the front of my house. When I am walking straight to my building I hear a bop," Lopez said.
According to police, Teoh said her children, a three-day-old and a six-year-old, were inside the vehicle at the time of the crash, but because she lied about her identity, the rest of her story isn't credible.
"If you're going to lie this much, everything is in question. There's a point where we're going to go back, just to do our do diligence and double check everything. We're going to re-interview witnesses, we are going to probably, to the extent that we can, re-interview the person that's been charged. We'll do that but everything right now, you can't help but say, 'Were you lying then or are you lying now?'" Parizek said.
Parizek said a crash like this sticks with people forever and devastated a family.
"It's like a hard 90 degree turn in everybody's life. I mean she's looking at some serious prison time and they lost their son and their brother and their partner. I've been there it changes your life completely," Parizek said.
Teoh is being held in the Polk County Jail and the investigation is ongoing.