Friend turns in La Crosse hit-and-run suspect

Thomas Dereszynski arrested for early Sunday morning incident

La Crosse police said a friend turned in the man responsible for a hit-and-run that injured a pedestrian early Sunday morning.

Police arrested 22-year-old Thomas Dereszynski for hit-and-run – causing injury, and other traffic-related citations on early Thursday morning.

The incident happened at about 2:30 a.m. Sunday near the 600 block of Cass Street. A La Crosse police officer saw an eastbound vehicle on Cass Street revving its engine loudly and quickly increasing its speed as it passed. When the officer turned eastbound on Cass Street to initiate a traffic stop, the officer saw a pedestrian roll off the hood of the suspect’s vehicle. The vehicle left the scene. The pedestrian broke his leg.

On early Thursday morning, La Crosse police received a call from a friend of Dereszynski. The caller said Dereszynski had told him he was the driver responsible for the accident and wanted to turn himself in but couldn’t. The friend told Dereszynski that if he didn’t turn himself in, he would call police.

Dereszynski was located outside of a downtown La Crosse bar Thursday at about 2 a.m. The criminal complaint states Dereszynski said he wanted to take a seat in the squad car because it was very cold outside. The officer told Dereszynski he was not under arrest and was free to go at any time. The complaint states Dereszynski took a seat in the back of the squad vehicle and said, “You should just arrest me now.”

Dereszynski told police he wanted to turn himself in since the day of the incident, but was scared. He said during the incident he was driving about 30-40 MPH eastbound in the 600 block of Cass Street and it was dark and he could not see anything. He told police he saw a silhouette of someone on the driver’s side of his vehicle, believed to be a person walking from the area of 6th and Cass Streets southbound towards the Cass Street Bar. The next thing he knew, he struck the person who then rolled off his vehicle.

The complaint states Dereszynski told police after he hit the pedestrian he was sure he hit the brakes to slow down, but knew he did not stop. That’s when “fight or flight kicked in” and he freaked out and drove off.

The next day, Dereszynski checked his vehicle and found the zip ties on his vehicle were broken on the passenger side and the mirror was hanging from the power cords. Dereszynski said he believes the pedestrian hit the passenger side front bumper or quarter panel and rolled off his vehicle.

Police arrested Dereszynski for hit-and-run – causing injury and other traffic-related citations. He was held in La Crosse County Jail for hit-and-run causing bodily injury, unreasonable and imprudent speed, non-registration of motor vehicle, and operate motor vehicle without insurance.A search warrant was obtained and the vehicle  Dereszynski was driving at the time of the accident was impounded as evidence in the case.

Dereszynski was charged with hit and run – injury and was released from La Crosse County Jail on Thursday afternoon on a signature bond.

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