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| Crime |

Hit-and-Run Driver Arrested. Victim's Leg Still M.I.A.

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Mesa police arrested a man they say is responsible for a fatal hit-and-run incident early Sunday morning, during which one of the victims' legs was severed.

The leg, however, was not found at the scene.

Police suspected the leg might have become attached to the vehicle that hit the two 25-year-old victims, but Mesa Sergeant Ed Wessing says the vehicle has been recovered, and 27-year-old Jose DeJesus Padilla-Rodriguez is in custody for the hit-and-run, but the leg is still missing.

Padilla-Rodriguez was arrested yesterday afternoon after a concerned Mesa woman recognized a damaged car parked in her apartment complex that was similar to one she'd heard about in the media in connection with the hit and run.

When police arrived, they found a green Toyota Celica with damage consistent with a car that had recently run over two grown men -- there was damage to the windshield, dents, and both side mirrors had been knocked off.

As police approached the car, a windshield repair man was already there assessing the damage. Police found the man to whom the car was registered and paid him a visit.

The owner of the car told police he'd loaned it to his friend, Padilla-Rodriguez, and it was never returned. Padilla-Rodriguez, Wessing says, told the owner of the vehicle the car had been stolen.

When police contacted Padilla-Rodriguez, he confirmed the car owner's story. He said he was driving the car and he knew he'd hit the two men (although, he told police he thought one of the people he hit was a woman), and that he didn't bother to stop.

Padilla-Rodriguez was booked on two counts of failure to stop at a serious injury or fatal collision, and two counts of failure to remain at a serious injury or fatal collision.

The leg, as we mentioned, is still missing.

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