David Romero

LAYTON — A man has been arrested in a hit-and-run crash that claimed the life of a 15-year-old girl, the Utah Highway Patrol said.

A 44-year-old man was booked into the Davis County Jail late Tuesday night in connection with the death of Chelsea Smith Peaslee, authorities said. David Romero was booked for investigation of leaving the scene of an injury or fatal accident, a class A misdemeanor, UHP Sgt. Jeff Nigbur told the Deseret Morning News.

"We will also forward the case on to the county attorney in Davis to screen for any other possible charges," he said.

Peaslee was killed late Saturday night while trying to cross I-15 near the Layton Hills Mall. Troopers said she was with a cousin when she hopped a fence and tried to run across the freeway. A car struck her, and the driver left the scene. Why he didn't stop is unknown, Nigbur said.

"There's a little bit of a language barrier," he said. "He may have been scared."

Investigators were able to quickly narrow down the search for the vehicle involved because of evidence found at the scene of the crash. Pieces of the 2003 Ford Mustang were scattered for miles down the I-15 corridor. Part numbers from the vehicle helped point troopers toward a suspect.

"We found a license plate and were able to track that information down not only to a vehicle, but also a registered owner in the Salt Lake Valley," Nigbur said. "We had two persons of interest. We went and interviewed both of them (Tuesday night) and Mr. Romero confessed to being behind the wheel."

Peaslee was a student at Central Davis Junior High, and the soccer player was remembered in a candlelight vigil on Tuesday night. A fund to help pay for a funeral has been set up at US Bank.

Funeral services for Peaslee are scheduled for Thursday.

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