Hit and Run

Dallas police seek public's help in hit-and-run death of woman in Uptown

Dallas police seek help in hit-and-run death of woman in Uptown

Rachel Spelman
Rachel Spelman was killed in a hit-and-run accident in Uptown Dallas. Courtesy photo

The Dallas Police Department is seeking the public's assistance regarding a hit-and-run accident in Uptown that resulted in the death of a young woman.

On March 18 at about 2:10 am, police say that a dark sedan traveling southbound on Cedar Springs hit a young woman who was running across the street in the 2200 block of Cedar Springs Road near Pearl Street.

The woman was pronounced dead at the scene. The Dallas County Medical Examiner's Office identified her as 23-year-old Rachel Spelman.

The vehicle is described as a dark-colored sedan, unknown make and model. According to the police, after the vehicle struck Spelman, the driver stopped and exited the vehicle. He walked back, looked at the pedestrian on the ground, then fled in an unknown direction.

The driver is described as a black male with short curly hair, approximately 5'10" to 6'2" in height, and was last seen wearing a gray shirt and black pants.

The suspect vehicle has front-end damage to the front windshield and possibly the back window.

Despite its location in an urban, populous area, that’s an especially hazardous stretch of Cedar Springs Road for pedestrians, with crosswalks that are nonexistent or poorly marked. Some crosswalks that would be considered legal are not marked at all.

For example, if you exit from Rosewood Court, crossing Cedar Springs at Pearl is legal — however, there are none of the usual common-sense safeguards such as a marked crosswalk, flashing lights, or pedestrian refuge in the median.

On the south side of Cedar Springs, the sidewalk takes a meandering route that appears to end at a row of bushes. The city’s strange design, with no sight lines, makes it impossible to tell that the sidewalk extends to the intersection. It seems to create an incentive for pedestrians to cross mid-block, since they might not know there is any other way across.

One crazy crosswalk near Pearl and MacKinnon Streets serves as the only pedestrian crossing between the Crescent/Rosewood area and the Rolex Harwood area, and is hidden on a blind curve. Meanwhile, a number of intersections in the area around Rosewood Court, including the sidewalk across to the Rolex Building in the rear, do not have wheelchair ramps.

The crosswalk situation seems relevant because the Dallas Police Department's initial statement says that "The pedestrian was not in a crosswalk and died at the scene."

Spelman graduated magna cum laude from Texas A&M University in 2016, with a bachelor of arts in communication and a minor in business administration from the Mays School of Business.

She was a member of the Delta Delta Delta sorority, the Student Communication Association (SCA), Lambda Pi Eta Honor Society, Phi Kappa Phi National Honor Society, and Phi Eta Sigma National Honor Society.

She also volunteered for the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, working with underprivileged children at the Boys and Girls Club of the Brazos Valley and providing assistance and support for disadvantaged families.

Her parents are Thomas and Cheryl Spelman of Austin, and she had a younger sister, Kaitlyn.

If you have information regarding this fatal accident, the police ask that you contact Detective Jearlyn Jackson in Vehicle Crimes at 214-671-0009. The associated case numbers are 060673-2017 and 060674-2017.