58-year-old charged with hit-and-run death of 72-year-old in wheelchair

Jose Hernandez (Provided Photo/IMPD)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Jose Hernandez was driving his black 1966 Dodge Ram home from work along West Morris Street, he told police.

The rain and the dim lights on his truck made driving hard. But he “felt something hit his truck,” he told police.

Roger Roska. (Photo Provided/Roska Family)

What he hit was a man in a motorized wheelchair, police said in court documents. Roger Roska was found dead in a puddle of water along the side of the road Nov. 1.

Roska’s family members have said they are devastated, noting how it especially hurt to discover their dad or grandpa was found almost an hour after the accident facedown in a mud puddle.

The accident happened at 7:40 p.m. Nov. 1, in the 2500 block of West Morris, near the intersection with South Tremont Street, according to police. They said Roska, 72, was traveling west in his electric wheelchair on the right side of the road when he was struck and thrown from the road. The 2500 block of West Morris has streetlights but no sidewalk.

Hernandez was charged with leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death last week in Marion Superior Court, Criminal Division 6. He’s due back in court Dec. 13 for a hearing to determine the status of his counsel. The 58-year-old was released from the Marion County Jail on his own recognizance, according to online records, after posting bond.

Police found Hernandez by matching a piece of his truck left at the scene to his vehicle, court documents said. Police used surveillance video from nearby business locations to identify the truck as well.

When police told Hernandez that the piece was a match, he said he’d only told his wife about the crash and didn’t report it to authorities. “He said he does not watch the news, did not know what he struck and had not driven the Dodge since Nov. 1,” court documents said. “When (the detective) explained, a person had been struck, Jose Hernandez was remorseful and said he felt very bad for what had happened.”

Police said information from the state Bureau of Motor Vehicles showed Hernandez had never had a driver’s license.