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Police identify suspect in hit-and-run crash that killed 2, injured 3

Surveillance tape photo of Joel Barrozo

Surveillance tape photo of Joel Barrozo

Surveillance tape photo of Joel Barrozo

Surveillance tape photo of Joel Barrozo

Surveillance tape photo of Joel Barrozo

SOUTH BEND, Ind.—South Bend Police have identified 30-year-old Joel Barrozo as a suspect in the fatal hit-and-run crash that killed two people and injured three others on Bendix Drive on Sunday and are asking for the public's help in locating him.

Barrozo has been charged with two counts of Leaving the Scene of an Accident Resulting in Death, a level 5 Felony and three counts of Leaving the Scene of an Accident with Serious Bodily Injury, a level 6 Felony. 

A mother and son, 47-year-old Marvi Thomas and 9-year-old Christopher Poe, died in the accident and three other people were taken to Memorial Hospital.

17-month-old Isabelle Jasper remains in critical condition and Elizabeth Kelly and Christopher Wilson are in serious condition.

At approximately 6:15 p.m. on December 16, South Bend Police Department officers were dispatched to the area of Lathrop and Bendix for a three vehicle crash involving a black Nissan Altima, a brown Thunderbird, and a silver Dodge Avenger.

Police say Barrozo was driving the Avenger that was reported stolen out of Illinois when he hit the victims’ car from behind, pushing them into oncoming traffic.

Thomas was the driver of the Nissan with Poe as a passenger and were pronounced dead at the scene. 

Autopsy results are pending.

Kelly was the driver and Wilson and Jasper were passengers of the Thunderbird.

Based on the victims' injuries, St. Joseph County Fatal Crash Team (FACT) was called two investigate.

Police believe the Nissan was traveling northbound on Bendix when it was struck on the right rear bumper by the Avenger. The Nissan was then pushed into the southbound lane where it was struck by the Thunderbird.

Witnesses told police they observed the driver of the Avenger exit the vehicle and leave the area of the crash without identifying himself or complying with law requirements.

Additionally, witnesses said that they had watched the Avenger leave the Citgo gas station at 1401 N. Bendix.

Officers retrieved surveillance video from the Citgo which captured the image of the Avenger's driver, who was later identified as Barrozo. 

Police obtained a search warrant for the Avenger and discovered a pay stub with Barrozo's name. 

When asked by police, Barrozo's mother could not identify the whereabouts of her son.

Police have not been able to locate Barrozo. 

The police are asking the public for help in finding Joel Barrozo. Police ask that people do not approach the suspect and to call FACT at (574-259-2966 or Crime Stoppers (574) 288-STOP.

The public is advised that charges filed against this defendant are merely accusations and that he is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

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