By Elizabeth Hur
MIDDLETOWN TOWNSHIP, Pa. (CBS) – New developments in a deadly hit-and-run in Bucks County.
John Rearick died just days after being struck while walking on New Falls Road in Middletown Township.
Police now say Jonathan Simmons was behind the wheel of the car that left the scene of the accident.
Tuesday afternoon, the 27-year-old suspect turned himself in for his arraignment. Simmons was later released on $500,000 unsecured bail.
Sharon Rearick and family watched the news in disbelief. Seeing Jonathan Simmons in handcuffs was a relief, but learning
Simmons is out on bail was one of many reasons the Rearicks say their fight for justice has only begun.
Sharon Rearick explained, “It doesn’t mean anything. Nothing. He still killed my son.”
John Rearick was on his way home when he was hit by a car on New Falls Road. It was caught on surveillance video on July 22nd.
The video shows the driver pulling over initially then leaving the scene. John later died at the hospital from his injuries.
Sharon said, “A 23-year-old young man should not be dead because he was walking home. It just shouldn’t be. You shouldn’t have to bury your kid.”
Louis R. Busico, Simmons’ defense attorney, said, “Jonathan is not charged with causing this young man’s death. The charge is he didn’t remain on the scene. Nevertheless it’s a serious matter.”
The most serious charge the 27-year-old is fighting: Accident involving death or injury. The Rearicks were told it carries a mandatory minimum of a year in prison if convicted. The other charges include Recklessly Endangering Another Person and traffic violations: Driving While Operating Privilege is Suspended and failure to Give Information and Render Aid.
Sharon Rearick responded, “It’s like a little slap on the wrist. He’s going to be able to be home with his dad and his mom. I’m not going to see my kid again. It’s just not fair. It’s just not fair.”
Busico said, “He feels terrible. His heartfelt condolences go out to the family of the victim. His record’s clean and he’s praying for the family of the deceased.”
But instead of prayers, the Rearicks say they want answers. They want to know what Simmons was doing just prior to the accident and why he didn’t stay. The family hopes anyone with those answers will come forward.
In the meantime, the Rearicks are determined to make sure their beloved son, brother and uncle did not die in vain.
“I have to do something to so people don’t forget my son. So nobody else has to go through with this. So whether it’s to fight with the township to get sidewalks or for them to reduce the speed limit,” Sharon Rearick added.
Simmons is scheduled to be back in court for a preliminary hearing on August 16th.
According to court documents, Simmons admitted to police he was driving the car involved in the collision. The 2001 Cadillac
Deville, which is owned by Simmons’ father, was turned over to police as evidence.