DPS tracks down hit-and-run suspect piece by piece - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

DPS tracks down hit-and-run suspect piece by piece

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SLATON, TX (KCBD) -

A woman, who police believe killed a man and fled the scene, has been indicted for manslaughter after some serious detective work. The Department of Public Safety spent months investigating a December moped accident that killed 53-year-old Dierk Zieher on Hwy. 84.

DPS first believed the accident was at his own hand, however Sgt. Bryan Witt says one trooper just couldn't shake the feeling that the evidence didn't add up.   

"As the trooper went home that night, it just kept laying heavily on him that maybe he had missed something," Witt said.

It was that gut feeling that made Trooper Byron Ivey take a second look at the scene.

"It led the trooper to go back out to the scene when there was daylight and he could visually see more evidence and reexamine the crime scene," Witt said.

The daylight revealed their initial conclusion may have been false when investigators spotted a small piece of vehicle, which didn't belong to the moped.

"Trooper Ivey contacted the DPS Crime Lab and they started doing trace evidence on the vehicle," Witt said.

The DPS lab matched the piece to a 2005 white Hummer H-2. Interestingly enough, a vehicle of that same description had been pulled over for DWI the night of the accident.

"Trooper Ivey later spoke with Slaton PD officers and found out that Ms. Kirk had been arrested that same night for DWI driving a white hummer," Witt said.

In the weeks that followed the accident, witnesses and Crime Line tips came in all pointing towards 41-year-old Staci Kirk.

"Two witnesses saw the white Hummer driving erratically and one had actually seen the crash. There was also a Crime Line tip that said Ms. Kirk had been driving that vehicle and was trying to hide her vehicle," Witt said.

Three months after Zieher was killed, Kirk was arrested and charged with Manslaughter.

According to Sgt. Witt, tracing the crime back to Kirk took "many man hours reexamining the evidence, linking that piece of vehicle back to that Hummer and then getting it to the DA's office."

Some would say DPS went above and beyond to find the person responsible for Zieher's death, however DPS troopers believe it's all in a day's, or a few months' work.

"The individual that had the unfortunate accident that night is not able to speak for himself about what happened. A lot of times we have to be the voice and that's something our department takes great pride in," Witt said.

Nine troopers investigated the case, along with the DPS Crime Lab and the Slaton Police Department. Kirk was released on a $25,000 bond four days after her arrest.  

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