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No leads in hit-and-run

The sole investigative lead in an apparent hit-and-run death fizzled Tuesday, when authorities heard from a woman being sought and determined she was not the driver in the fatality.

The woman who had been seen driving a red Jeep CJ7 in Nevada City at about 2:30 a.m. Saturday called the California Highway Patrol after reading an article on the death of Peter Owen Vodonick, who had just turned 21 the day before.

The woman said that she did not run into Vodonick but that she did have to swerve around him as he was sitting in the middle of the westbound lane of Highway 20, east of Nevada City, Highway Patrol Officer Greg Thys said.



Friday night, Vodonick met a few friends at the Crazy Horse Saloon to celebrate his birthday, family members said. According to the CHP, Vodonick did not want to wait for a cab and decided to walk five miles to his home on Willow Valley Road. His sister Jessamyn Vodonick said it is also possible that her brother got a ride for part of the way. She said she heard he might have been seen at the 5 Mile House, off Highway 20.

East of Cielo Road, at about 2:20 a.m., Vodonick was walking east, along the westbound shoulder of the highway, Thys said. It is now believed he might have been in the center of the westbound lane when he was struck by a vehicle that did not stop. Thys said it is assumed that he was under the influence of alcohol as he was walking home.




Vodonick suffered a broken neck, and his body was found some time later by a passing Nevada County Sheriff’s Office deputy and a semi driver.

The highway patrol does not have any suspects in the death of the Sierra Foothill High School graduate, but the agency is asking that anyone who may have seen a vehicle exiting Highway 20 or in Nevada City after 2:20 a.m. report the vehicle at 273-4415.

“Any type of all lead at all – be it ever so small – could lead to something,” highway patrol Officer George Kirbyson said. “Don’t hesitate to call us.”

Vodonick’s family has planned a memorial service for 2 p.m. on Saturday at Pioneer Park, in Nevada City. They are also planning on opening a trust fund at an area bank. In the meantime, donations can be sent to the family directly at P.O Box 763, Nevada City 95959.

“His family is begging for anyone that might have information, so we could have a resolution,” said Vodonick’s sister Jenny Hanson.

HOW TO HELP

The California Highway Patrol said Tuesday it does not have any suspects in the death of Peter Vodonick, but the agency is asking for any information about any vehicles on or around Highway 20 or in Nevada City after 2:20 a.m. Saturday. Tips can be reported to 273-4415.

Donations may be sent to the family directly at P.O Box 763, Nevada City 95959.


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