NASCAR driver who helped draw attention to case of woman killed in hit-and-run accident sees efforts go for naught

1 Comment

When NASCAR driver Kevin Conway placed a cold case photo and information on his Nationwide Series car of a young woman who was killed in a 2008 hit-and-run accident, the odds were slim that it would lead to the person who struck and killed Melissa Lech.

Somehow, the longshot of having the photo and information on Conway’s car during a 2011 race at Chicagoland Speedway ultimately worked, as David McCarthy IV eventually confessed to the crime.

According to an ABC News report in February 2012, McCarthy allegedly went to the home of Lech’s sister and confessed, claiming his conscience had been eating at him ever since “the NASCAR thing.”

McCarthy left Lech’s sister’s house without identifying himself, but Lech’s brother-in-law got the license plate off McCarthy’s car and notified police, who arrested McCarthy shortly afterward.

He was charged with causing personal injury and leaving the scene of an accident and held on a $1 million bond.

With McCarthy’s confession again told to arresting officers, it appeared to be a slam-dunk case for conviction. After McCarthy’s arrest and when he was told that his race car helped solve the case, Conway said at the time he was “thrilled” and added “I hope this brings an element of closure so (Lech’s family) can begin the healing process.”

Unfortunately, Lech’s family is once again seeking justice as on Thursday in a Will County (Ill.) courtroom, McCarthy had all charges against him dropped.

The rare reversal came as prosecutors, defense attorneys and the judge all agreed McCarthy’s alleged confessions were false because he suffers from a mental disorder that causes delusions, and that evidence did not match his account of the incident.

Sadly, that puts the Lech family back where it started when Melissa was first killed in the hit-and-run incident in Joliet, Ill., just a few miles from Chicagoland Speedway.

Conway, who was Sprint Cup Rookie of the Year in 2010, hasn’t raced in NASCAR since that 2011 season. He won the North American Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo Series Pro-Am championship in 2013.

Follow me @JerryBonkowski

Ken Roczen signs with HEP Progressive Ecstar Suzuki for 2023

Roczen Progressive Ecstar Suzuki
Align Media
0 Comments

ANAHEIM, California – Ken Roczen will make the move from HRC Honda to H.E.P. Motorsports with the Progressive Ecstar Suzuki team, ending a long and eventful offseason that saw his split from his longstanding team after he committed to running World Supercross (WSX).

“H.E.P. Motorsports is thrilled to announce that the team has signed Ken Roczen as its premier rider for the 2023 season,” the team announced on Instagram. “Former AMA Motocross champion Roczen will be aboard a Suzuki RM-Z450. Roczen, who won his most recent championship on a Suzuki, will be reunited with the brand and bring his exciting style, determination, and grit back to the RM Army.

“Ken Roczen will compete in the upcoming 2023 Supercross and Motocross Championship series which is set to start on January 7 at Anaheim Stadium in Southern California.”

For Roczen, it is a return to the bike of his youth and on which he had some of his greatest professional success.

“This thing has been going on for weeks and weeks and weeks in the making, but there was so much uncertainty,” Roczen told NBC Sports during Monster Energy Supercross Media Sessions. “It was a very unique situation. I just finally signed two nights ago, so it’s really only legit once the ink hits the paper. It’s been in the works for a long time, but there were just a lot of questions and a lot of input from a lot of other teams too.

“Good things take time, and I’m okay with that. I grew up riding Suzuki. Ot’s like a homecoming. It’s a special feeling”

Roczen won the 2016 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship on a Suzuki before making the move to Honda. That year he won nine of 12 Nationals and finished no worse than second as he easily outpaced Eli Tomac by 86 points. He finished third in his next Pro Motocross outing in 2018 after sitting out the outdoor season in 2017.

“I am beyond excited to reconnect with Suzuki for the 3rd time in my career. We’ve had a lot of success in the past and I’m looking forward to seeing what we can accomplish together in our future.” Roczen said in the Instagram post.