David Romero

FARMINGTON — The suspect in a deadly hit-and-run crash that killed a 15-year-old Layton girl has bailed out of jail.

Officers at the Davis County Jail told the Deseret Morning News that David Romero, 44, posted the required $1,882 bond on a credit card and was released at 10:35 p.m. Tuesday. It was only an hour and a half after he was booked on suspicion of leaving the scene of an injury or fatal accident, a class A misdemeanor.

The Utah Highway Patrol said Romero is its prime suspect in the death of Chelsea Smith-Peaslee, who was running across Interstate 15 late Saturday night when she was hit by a car. Peaslee was with her cousin when they hopped a fence and tried to run across the freeway near the Layton Hills Mall. Troopers said a 2003 Ford Mustang hit her, but the driver did not stop.

Exactly why the car didn't stop remains a mystery, the UHP said.

"He's really not saying," UHP Trooper Cameron Roden said Wednesday. "He wasn't really giving a reason."

Roden said investigators believe that, after hitting the girl, Romero drove home.

"When he gets home, he has somebody follow him to West Valley, where he abandons the car," Roden said. "That person drives him home. When he gets home, he files a stolen vehicle report around midnight."

Investigators were able to quickly narrow down the search for the vehicle because pieces of the car were scattered for miles along the I-15 corridor in Layton. Car part numbers and a license plate led investigators to Romero, who was living in Salt Lake County.

Investigators also were looking for the vehicle, which was found in a local tow yard. It has now been impounded by the UHP, Roden said.

As the Deseret Morning News reported on Tuesday, investigators were focusing on a suspect. They questioned Romero late Tuesday night.

"David confessed," Roden said.

UHP investigators are expected to meet with the Davis County Attorney's Office sometime within the next few days to begin screening the case for formal criminal charges.

Peaslee was a student at Central Davis Junior High, and the soccer player will be remembered at a viewing in Layton tonight. Her funeral is scheduled for Thursday.


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