The Sweet Grass County Sheriff’s department has confirmed the arrest of 45-year-old David Welk, a truck driver of St. Cloud, Montana who is suspected of participating in a hit-and-run death near Big Timber, Montana.
Welk was arrested near Grundy Center, Iowa. His warrant lists a $250,000 bond, and he is facing charges for leaving the scene of a fatal crash. Welk appeared in court this morning, and waived extradition to Montana – plans are currently being made for transport.
The hit-and-run accident resulted in the death 81-year-old Elgie Bedford of Wasilla, Alaska, and occurred on I-90 in Montana on September 30, 2013.
Welk became a suspect when his driving partner, Michael Karls contacted the Montana Highway Patrol on October 25th regarding his knowledge about the accident.
Karls informed the investigators that he had been in the sleeper on September 30th while traveling westbound on I-90 when he felt a collision. Karls asked Welk what had happened, and Welk responded (yelling) that he had just hit someone.
Karls asked Welk if he was sure, and the two discussed whether or not it could have been a bear. The drivers stopped, walked back to the accident scene, and located their truck’s headlight. They then returned to the truck, drove six miles to the nearest exit, turned the truck around, and drove back to the scene (near the Greycliff exit), and surveyed the area with a flashlight.
Karls noticed a piece of clothing in the road, and Welk responded that the items were just clothing and a duffel bag, but Karls noticed that Welk’s demeanor seemed nervous and distressed.
Thanks to Karls’ report, an Ohio State Trooper was able to secure the truck at an Eaton truck stop. The trooper asked Welk about the Montana accident, and Welk informed the law enforcement officer that he had hit a deer.
Upon further investigation, it was found that Welk had informed his company’s mechanic that a collision with a hawk had broken out the truck’s headlight.
According to the Montana Highway Patrol, Welk was no longer working for the same trucking company at the time of his arrest.
An additional motorist who was been identified as 31-year-old Wryan Young was found to have hit Bedford. Young has also been charged with leaving the scene of a fatal crash and tampering with evidence (for washing his vehicle, and leaving pieces of Bedford’s body in a Livingston car wash). Young has plead not guilty to the charges – and his father Westley Young told the authorities that Bedford was hit by Welk’s truck first.
If found guilty, Welk could be facing up to 10 years in prison as well as fine of up to $50,000.