Driver arrested in Uptown hit-and-run death

Suspected arrested in Uptown hit-and-run death

DALLAS -- Police have arrested a man they say struck a 23-year-old woman and fled the scene in Dallas' Uptown neighborhood. 

John Adrian Esparza, 38, was arrested in Madill, Oklahoma by Marshall County deputies and is being held in jail until he is returned to Dallas.

Esparza was located by a deputy searching for the car that hit Rachel Spelman at about 2 a.m. Saturday on Cedar Springs near Pearl Street.

Dallas police say they believe Esparza stopped and got out of his car, walked back and looked at Spelman, then fled in an unknown direction. He was driving a dark-colored sedan that left the scene with damage to the windshield and possibly the back window.

Spelman's coworker and friend, Marie Bodnar, says she is crushed by the loss.

"She had a contagious personality, she was well-liked and was the core of her [work] day," Bodnar said. 

Esparza will be charged with failing to stop and render aid, causing serious bodily injury or death.

Rachel's father, Tom Spelman, released the following statement:

"On behalf of my wife and daughter, I would like to thank the Dallas Police Department, Government Officials, and concerned citizens everywhere for all of their efforts in bringing closure to this case so quickly. I understand there was great community support.

As we grieve for our beloved Rachel, I would like to also thank those witnesses that responded immediately in an effort to assist and comfort her before the first responders arrived. To you we are forever grateful. I also ask that there is improved safety for the pedestrians in the Uptown area. As you know the demographics of the area are mostly young, bright, and ambitious people with a lot to contribute to the world. Finally, Thank you for your prayers and support and please find it in your hearts to pray for those that have been apprehended and are responsible for this tragedy."

Copyright 2016 WFAA


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