ST. LOUIS – More than a month after a teenager was struck and killed by a driver near Ted Drewes, prosecutors have announced charges against a suspect.
Matthew Nikolai, 17, lost his life on July 29 when he was hit by a truck in the 6700 block of Chippewa Street while trying to cross the street.
Nikolai was thrown into the path of another car that also hit him. The second vehicle stopped and the occupants cooperated with police. The driver of the pickup truck parked down the block and walked to the scene but did not identify himself. He then walked back to his truck and drove off.
On Wednesday, the St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s Office charged 25-year-old Jacob Adler with leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death and tampering with physical evidence in a felony prosecution.
St. Louis Alderman Joe Vollmer is friends with the victim’s family. He said he hopes the case will be successfully prosecuted.
“I’m very happy that charges are finally filed, very hopeful that our circuit attorney’s office gets this right,” Vollmer said.
He said the family is one of the founding families of The Hill neighborhood and many people have been hurt by the loss of Nikolai.
“There’s no closure that will bring back this wonderful kid,” Vollmer said.
Adler had turned himself over to police on Aug. 8 but the circuit attorney’s office declined charges against him at the time, citing further follow-up from police. According to police, Adler’s attorney contacted authorities on Aug. 5 to say his client would surrender himself in the coming days.
At no point from the time of the accident through Aug. 4 did Adler or his lawyer contact law enforcement, police said.
Prosecutors said Adler took his truck to a body shop in St. Louis County on July 30 and inquired about getting repairs made to the vehicle. After police posted pictures of the truck online and through local news media, the manager of the body shop contacted investigators and the truck was seized as evidence.
A warrant has been issued for Alder’s arrest.