Fatal hit-and-run driver made up abduction excuse for fleeing the scene: Merced Police

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Merced Police secured the final piece of evidence they needed this week to arrest a fatal hit-and-run driver, who they say made up an elaborate story about why he drove away.

In the early morning hours of May 13, a hit-and-run driver killed 68-year-old Joe Lang near R and Buena Vista in Merced.

Sean Lambert-Diaz later confessed to being behind the wheel.

And that's when the story gets complicated.

"The gist of it was that he had left a party and was kidnapped by some subjects and forced to go to an ATM to withdraw some money," says Sgt. Joseph Perez of the Merced Police Department.

Lambert-Diaz told police he was being held captive during the accident, and that his kidnapper forced him to keep on driving after he hit Lang in the intersection.

Detectives were naturally skeptical.

"They dig a hole for themselves so they want to make up a lie about what happened during the accident, but in this case it was a little farfetched," says Perez.

For the next seven months, officers tried corroborating the driver's story.

They found video from the ATM.

"There was video surveillance that had been obtained and there was also evidence from inside the vehicle that showed the driver was the solo occupant," says Perez.

Officers say this lengthy investigation could have been avoided -- had the driver just stayed behind.

Now he will be facing felony hit-and run and manslaughter charges.
Related Topics:
hit and runhit and run accidentabductionkidnappinginvestigationMerced
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