Authorities seek owner of car in hit-and-run death of Honduran immigrant in Morristown

Frederick Lyle is being sought by authorities in connection with a June 2018 fatal hit-and-run in Morristown. Photo: Morris County Prosecutor's Office
Frederick Lyle is being sought by authorities in connection with a June 2018 fatal hit-and-run in Morristown. Photo: Morris County Prosecutor's Office
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By Marion Filler

Authorities have issued an arrest warrant for a motor vehicle owner in connection with a fatal hit-and-run accident in Morristown in June.

Although Frederick Lyle, 40, has not been charged with the accident that killed 23-year-old Honduran immigrant Victor Josue Padilla Turcios, Morristown police allege he hindered the investigation by giving false information about his whereabouts on the night of the crash, June 27, 2018.

According to legal documents, a witness that evening saw Turcios walking north on a sidewalk along Martin Luther King Avenue, towards Abbett Avenue, “stumbling and going from side to side.”

The witness then “heard a loud noise,” saw the victim lying in the roadway, and observed a small black sedan fleeing north on Martin Luther King, the documents say.

Morris Township police quickly found Lyle’s black Nissan nearby. They reported it was “warm to the touch… severe front windshield damage consistent with a pedestrian strike.”

Township police called Lyle, who said he was in New Brunswick and would return to Morristown to talk to them about his car, which he said was parked in front of his residence and had no other drivers.

When Lyle failed to meet officers in Morristown, and stopped responding to their phone calls, police obtained a data warrant for Lyle’s cellular phone showing he was in Morristown during the call in which he claimed to be in New Brunswick, the warrant states.

Victor Josue Padilla Turcios was struck by a hit-and-run driver in Morristown and died 10 days shy of his 24th birthday. Photo courtesy of the family.
Victor Josue Padilla Turcios was struck by a hit-and-run driver in Morristown and died 10 days shy of his 24th birthday. Photo courtesy of the family.

Turcios, an undocumented immigrant who worked as a landscaper, died at Morristown Medical Center on July 7.

Lyle is well known to Morris County authorities, with arrests for possession and sale of drugs dating as far back as 1997.

He was arrested on drug charges in a 2013 sweep of 17 Morristown residents suspected of violent crimes, gang activity and drug dealing, including an alleged heroin distribution ring on Flagler Street.

Over the years, Lyle has been apprehended in Manahan Village public housing, Mennen Field, the Flagler Street apartments, and locations within school zones. Although his record shows numerous traffic violations, there is no mention of violence in any of his former arrests.

Anyone with any information about Lyle’s location is asked to contact the Morris County Prosecutors Office/Major Crimes Unit at (973) 285-6200, or Morristown police at (973) 538-2200.

Kevin Coughlin contributed to this report.

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