Complaint: Hit-and-run suspect turned in by father

Pal to appear in court Thursday
Complaint: Hit-and-run suspect turned in by father
Sambath Pal

A man suspected of killing two motorcyclists in a hit-and-run crash near Janesville was turned in by his father, according to a criminal complaint.

Sambath Pal, 24, is scheduled to appear in court in Lake County, Ill., on Thursday to face extradition to Wisconsin. He is charged with two felony counts of hit-and-run resulting in death, according to the complaint.

Mitchell J. Vance, 24, and Devin J. Julius, 18, both of Janesville, died in the crash on Highway 14 in the town of Harmony on Easter Sunday.

The complaint said Saroeun Tigh, of Park City, Ill., contacted investigators on Thursday to say his son drove his SUV to Janesville the previous weekend and returned the SUV with damage consistent with the damage investigators expected to find on the suspect’s vehicle. The SUV was a black 2004 Infinity QX56, matching the description issued by detectives, according to the complaint.

Rock County Sheriff Bob Spoden said Tigh requested the tip remain anonymous until he had the opportunity to talk to his son.

“It’s a terrible position to be in. As a father, I can’t imagine the thought of having to turn your son in, but at the same time being torn, because you know what the right thing to do is,” Spoden said. “He kept saying that, while this was his son, he was trying to be a good citizen. That was his own words, ‘I am trying to be a good citizen,’ and I think he felt a certain level of guilt and grief.”

Detectives drove to Park City, and confirmed the damage was consistent with what they were expecting to find on the suspect’s vehicle.

Tigh said his son would not explain how or where the SUV was damaged. Pal told his father, “I hit something,” but didn’t know what it was and did not stop to check, according to the complaint. Tigh said Pal left on April 20 and returned the next day.

Pal’s girlfriend told investigators Pal was visiting her in Janesville that weekend and she asked him about the crash, but he denied any involvement.

The records also said Pal’s girlfriend works near the crash site. She told detectives that Pal visited her at her job, and left around 7:40 pm. Deputies were called to the crash right before 8 p.m. Spoden said even with a suspect in custody, the loss is great for everyone involved.

“The tragedy of all of this is that you have three families who are now forever changed,” Spoden said.