Criminal charges were filed Wednesday against an Atwater man accused of leaving the scene of a wreck last month that claimed the life of a 16-year-old boy, the Merced County District Attorney’s Office confirmed.
Jarrod Mellow, 30, was charged with a single felony count of leaving the scene of a collision and a misdemeanor count of driving without a license, according to Harold Nutt, a chief deputy district attorney.
No dates had been scheduled as of Wednesday for Mellow to make his first appearance in Merced Superior Court.
Mellow was arrested last month in connection with the Jan. 25 death of 16-year-old Eric D. Ruiz.
According to the Atwater Police Department, Ruiz died after he was struck by a vehicle in the area of Shaffer Road and Della Drive in Atwater.
Police arrested Mellow on Jan. 27 on suspicion of manslaughter, but, Nutt said, prosecutors did not file that charge because they didn’t feel there was enough evidence to support it as of Wednesday.
Mellow posted bail and was released a few hours after he was booked into the Merced County jail, according to Merced County Sheriff’s Department records.
Investigators have not commented on specific details of the collision or the evidence that led them to name Mellow as a suspect. Officers did seize a black Honda Civic with front-end damage investigators believe was consistent with the fatal collision, police said previously.
According to court records, Mellow, since 2008, has been convicted at least three times of driving on a suspended license and at least twice for speeding.
Robert Ruiz, Eric’s father, said his son’s skateboard is still missing. He believes Eric Ruiz was riding the board on the night he was killed. The father and son had bonded through skateboarding.
“I’d really like to get that back,” Ruiz said Wednesday. “I’m not sure why people won’t just give it back to us. It’s very important.”
Anyone with information about the case or the missing skateboard is asked to contact investigators at (209) 357-6396. Tips are confidential and callers can remain anonymous.
Sun-Star staff writer Rob Parsons can be reached at (209) 385-2482 or email@example.com.