Aunt tells alleged hit and run driver to 'Burn in Hell'

The aunt of a woman killed by a hit-and-run driver on New Year's Day told the alleged driver to "Burn in Hell" after he appeared before a judge Monday.
January 8, 2012 9:00:00 PM PST
The aunt of a woman killed by a hit-and-run driver on New Year's Day told the alleged driver to "Burn in Hell" after he appeared before a judge Monday.

Raleigh police charged 56-year-old Joseph Rechel with felony hit and run on Friday.

Rechel was allegedly driving on South Saunders Street near Maywood Drive around 7:15 p.m. on Jan. 1 when he hit and killed 32-year-old Melissa Johnson as she crossed the street.

According to authorities, Rechel fled the scene in a dark-colored, mid-sized pick-up truck.

On Friday, the same day Johnson was laid to rest, police found Rechel's Ford Ranger on Leonard Street in Raleigh. They said it appeared to have had recent repairs done to the front end.

During his court appearance Monday, Johnson's aunt - Teri Shaw - lashed out at Rechel as he left the courtroom.

"I told him I hope he burns in Hell," she said.

Shaw told ABC11 she suspects Rechel had been drinking the night of the accident.

"I'm pretty sure he was drunk," she said. "There was a witness who was at a party with him ... said he had been drinking."

Rechel is not charged with DWI.

Shaw told ABC11 that she got most of her information from Johnson's family and police. She said investigators said they focused on Rechel after finding a lead at a local auto body repair shop.

Rechel, who was released on bond Friday night, faces up to five years in prison.

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