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Reward offered in fatal Athens hit-and-run

Sanchez Mandez Elder

By Joe Johnson

Athens-Clarke County police have announced that a cash reward was being offered in the search for a hit-and-run driver who last month killed a man in east Athens.

According to police, 25-year-old Sanchez Mandez Elder was on the side of Cherokee Road shortly after 8 p.m. when a southbound vehicle struck him and then sped away south on Cherokee Road.

A diagram included with a police accident report indicates that the vehicle left the roadway prior to hitting the victim across from Martin’s Hill Lane.

On Monday, police revealed that a witness saw the driver stop the car after the collision.

“After hitting Sanchez, the driver briefly exited the (car) and quickly returned to the vehicle before fleeing the scene,” police Public Information Officer Geof Gilland said Monday morning.

Sanchez, a Washington Drive resident, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police said that officers collected pieces of evidence from the suspect’s vehicle, including a black grille from a Nissan.

Witnesses described the vehicle as a silver 2004-06 Nissan Altima that was being driven by a white male, according to police.

If seen, the car may have significant front-end damage, and Gilland said investigators have looked for the car by checking with area body repair shops as they continue to actively investigate the incident.

Police asked that any body shops or citizens with information about the incident to contact Lt. Jonathan McIlvaine at (762) 400-7089.

Crime Stoppers is offering a reward of up to $1,000 for information that leads to an arrest.

Anonymous calls can be made to the Crime Stoppers confidential tip line at (706) 705-4775.

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