The husband of a woman killed in a hit-and-run accident on Salt Lake County's east side last week was arrested Monday for investigation of homicide.
Sherman Lynch, 59, was arrested and booked into the Salt Lake County Jail for investigation of criminal homicide in the death of 64-year-old Patricia Rothermich after investigators found the truck they say he used to run her over.
Rothermich was walking through a residential area near her house in the area of 2500 East and 5100 South on Oct. 3 when she was struck from behind and killed by a vehicle driving on the wrong side of the road. Witnesses told investigators they saw a white or light-colored pickup leaving the area.
Immediately the apparent accident raised special concern for detectives, who noted the driver would have had to swerve 25 feet to hit her, something that typically doesn't happen by accident.
"Whoever hit this woman had to go clear over almost to the opposite side of the road," said Sheriff's Lt. Paul Jaroscak. "There were things that concerned us right off the bat ... (that) made this seem different from a typical hit-and-run."
The day after the incident, Lynch talked to local television news crews, calling for the person responsible to surrender to authorities. He told investigators then that he didn't know anything about his wife's death, according to a Salt Lake County Jail report.
After those media interviews aired, the sheriff's office received a call from a woman claiming to be Lynch's girlfriend who said Lynch had purchased a truck with her that matched the description of the one they were seeking, Jaroscak said.
Detectives received a call Monday from a resident who was overseeing a vacant house in Holladay. The house included a garage with no door. But when the man got there Monday, there was plywood covering the garage opening, Jaroscak said. The man tore the plywood down and found a white truck inside. The sheriff's office was called and confirmed it was the vehicle Lynch had purchased.
Detectives investigating the vehicle found damage consistent with that from the accident, including paint that was similar to the paint found on Rothermich's clothes.
Investigators questioned Lynch about the truck Monday. He told them it had broken down a few weeks ago and he had given it away, the jail report stated. When detectives revealed that they had the truck in their possession, he stopped talking and asked for his attorney, according to the report.
Lynch revealed that he had two family life insurance policies. He said he thought he would get about $125,000 from one and $100,000 for the other, according to the jail report. The sheriff's office Monday had not released a possible motive for the crime.
Rothermich was the former Salt Lake regional director for the Division of Child and Family Services.Jaroscak said the arrest was another example of how law enforcement and the media successfully work together. If not for the media coverage asking for the public's help in finding the hit-and-run vehicle, the woman who provided key information may not have stepped forward, he said.