By DONALD WITTKOWSKI
Crediting some “old-fashioned police investigative work” for cracking the case, authorities announced the arrest Tuesday of the suspected driver in a hit-and-run accident in Sea Isle City that left a pedestrian with serious injuries Sept. 1.
Wendi Rodriguez-Cuevas, 43, of Pleasantville, was charged with assault by auto, leaving the scene of an accident with serious bodily injury, endangering another, endangering an injured victim and destroying evidence.
Rodriguez-Cuevas, who also faces numerous motor vehicle charges related to the hit-and-run, was arrested in Pleasantville after police obtained multiple search warrants, according to a press release. He was processed and released on a summons in accordance with New Jersey Bail Reform.
Sea Isle Police Chief Tom McQuillen said Rodriguez-Cuevas was working as a driver for the ridesharing company Lyft when the accident occurred in the early morning hours of Sept. 1 near the intersection of 78th Street and Landis Avenue.
The pedestrian was Thomas Ruggieri, a Malvern, Pa., resident who was visiting Sea Isle.
McQuillen credited Sea Isle’s Det. Sgt. Bill Bradshaw and Det. Nick Giordano for doing a “phenomenal job” in handling the month-long investigation. Bradshaw and Giordano worked with the Cape May County Prosecutor’s Office and Pleasantville police to identify and arrest Rodriguez-Cuevas.
“This case started with no physical or video evidence. It was just hard work on the part of two detectives,” McQuillen said. “It’s a credit to those two guys.”
Sea Isle police sought the public’s help immediately after the accident by requesting any home surveillance video that may have captured the accident. After having no luck with the video, Bradshaw and Giordano simply used “old-fashioned police investigative work” to make the arrest, McQuillen said.
“They used all the tools available,” McQuillen said. “They did a phenomenal job from the start.”