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Man charged in fatal hit-and-run had claimed vehicle was stolen

A driver arrested in connection with a hit and run that left a man dead told police he ran from the scene because he didn’t have a driver’s license and didn’t want to be arrested for murder, according to an arrest report released Tuesday.

Ethan Chavez, 20, was arrested on Wednesday after police said he falsely reported his 2016 Ford Fusion stolen following the fatal crash. He faces a charge of failure to stop at the scene of a crash resulting in death.

Police said that Chavez called 911 at 3:40 a.m. Wednesday to report that his car had been stolen and his GPS app wasn’t working, according to Las Vegas police. He asked that police call when they arrived at his home, but when officers showed up later that morning, police said he did not answer their call.

Chavez called police again around 9 a.m. and said that he found his car about a half-mile from his home on Broken Drive near Lawton Avenue using the GPS app on his phone, the report stated.

About 10 minutes before Chavez’ first called 911, police had found the body of a man on Lake Mead Boulevard. Police said the victim was in the bike lane when he was struck by a car before it drove off.

The Clark County coroner’s office Tuesday identified the man as Armani Williams, 23. He died from blunt force injuries.

When officers arrived at 10:45 a.m., the report stated, officers saw that the damage to the front of the car matched the description of a car that hit a pedestrian that morning. The car matched broken parts left at the crash site on Lake Mead Boulevard near Hallston Street.

Police later interviewed Chavez, and he changed his story to say that his phone was stolen with the car. When officers pointed out that he called police using his phone, police said, Chavez confessed to lying in his previous reports and admitted that his car wasn’t stolen.

Chavez then told police that he hit the victim while driving home from work because he didn’t see him in time to react. Chavez told police that he ran away because “he was scared because he didn’t have a driver’s license and didn’t want to be arrested for murder,” according to the arrest report. He parked the car on Broken Drive near Lawton Avenue and walked home to report it stolen, the report stated.

Chavez is set to appear again in court on Dec. 6.

Contact Mark Credico at mcredico@reviewjournal.com. Follow him on Twitter @MarkCredicoII.

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