EDITORS NOTE / UPDATE (MAY 2021): Stephanie Heninger, 42, was arrested on suspicion of causing the fatal crash. The vehicle in the incident was seized in Riverside County, Bakersfield Police reported. The court case is ongoing. For media coverage, please see the listing below.
A reward is being offered for information that leads to the arrest of the suspect responsible for the July 22 hit-and-run crash near CSU Bakersfield that killed 65-year-old Deborah Ann Geneau.
Chain | Cohn | Stiles and family of Deborah Ann Geneau is offering a $2,500 reward to the person who helps identify the driver of a 2013-2019 dark gray Nissan Sentra that is suspected to causing the crash on Stockdale Highway near Don Hart Drive. That vehicle turned into bike path parking area across from CSUB immediately after the collision, police said. It has driver’s side damage.
Anyone with information is urged to call 326-3967 or the Kern Secret Witness line at (661) 322-4040.
“I spent yesterday at the mortuary collecting my mother’s belongings, including her crushed earrings and wedding ring. I couldn’t help but think about what the driver of the other vehicle might have been doing yesterday?” said Dawn Elliott, Deborah Ann Geneau’s daughter and only child, in a statement to media. “We really just want this person to come forward, or assistance to find the person responsible.”
Bakersfield Police Department released a new video of surveillance camera angles. The angles include traffic cameras and footage from a Golden Empire Transportation bus that was in the vicinity of the crash, police said. You can view the videos by clicking here.
“At this point, all indications are that this was an accident,” said Ray Pruitt, investigator with Chain | Cohn | Stiles, in a news conference. “But a person made a decision after being involved in a fatal accident to flee the scene. Now that person has to be held accountable.”
At the news conference for media at Chain | Cohn | Stiles, husband Rick Geneau, husband of Debbie, and their daughter Dawn, shared about their loss, and pleaded with the driver who caused the collision to turn him or herself in.
Rick met Debbie met when they were both 14 years old. At the time of Debbie’s death, they had had been married for 45 years.
“You see these lines on my face, they’re not from old age. They’re timelines that I’ve spent with my wife,” Rick Geneau told media. We all miss her deeply … I thought I was the strength of the family. Come to find out she was my strength.”
Our community — friends and strangers — have reached out to the family since the accident. The family is grateful for the outpouring of love, condolences, and support, Rick Geneau said. A GoFundMe page has been set up to pay for funeral expenses. Click here to access that page.
Rick Geneau, in speaking through media, said if the driver turned themselves in, he would stand beside them in court and ask for leniency.
“But if you don’t turn yourself in, I’ll be in court also and I’ll be seeking full prosecution to the max,” he said.
Dawn Elliott told media she feels she’s had to take on her mother’s role and be the strength of the family during this time.
“You’ve not only taken my mom’s life, you’ve taken a piece of all of our lives.”
CRASH MEDIA COVERAGE
- Suspect’s car seen on video obtained by BPD in fatal hit-and-run (Eyewitness News – July 22, 2020)
- Coroner identifies victim of fatal traffic accident Wednesday on Stockdale Highway (The Bakersfield Californian – July 23, 2020)
- GoFundMe account set up for family of woman killed in hit-and-run collision on Stockdale Highway (KGET-17, NBC – July 24, 2020)
- Widower remembers woman killed in Stockdale Highway hit-and-run, shares message for suspect (KGET-17, NBC – July 25, 2020)
REWARD MEDIA COVERAGE
- Reward being offered for information leading to arrest in fatal hit-and-run near CSUB last week (KGET-17 – July 29, 2020)
- $2,500 reward being offered in deadly crash near CSUB (23ABC News – July 29, 2020)
- $2,500 reward for information leading to arrest of suspect in deadly hit-and-run near CSUB (Eyewitness News – July 29, 2020)
- Family of woman killed in hit-and-run crash near CSUB plea for driver to turn themselves in (23ABC News – July 29, 2020)
- Family of Stockdale Highway hit-and-run victim offering reward for suspect identification (The Bakersfield Californian – July 29, 2020) (online version)
- BPD releases surveillance video of hit-and-run suspect vehicle (23ABC News – July 29, 2020)
REWARD INCREASE MEDIA COVERAGE
- Reward raised to over $7,000 for information on deadly hit-and-run (Eyewitness News, KBAK-29 / KBFX-58 – Feb. 11, 2021)
- Reward for information on July fatal hit-and-run increases to $7,500 (The Bakersfield Californian – Feb. 10, 2021)
- Reward increased in search for fatal hit-and-run driver (23ABC News – Feb. 10, 2021)
- Reward increased to $7,500 for information leading to arrest in fatal hit-and-run near CSUB (KGET-17, NBC – Feb. 10, 2021) (YouTube video)
- Full Press Conference (Courtesy of KBAK-29 Eyewitness News)
- Investigators release new detail regarding suspect vehicle in 2020 deadly hit-and-run (23ABC News – April 12, 2021) (On the Web)
- BPD identifies sticker on vehicle suspected in fatal 2020 hit-and-run near CSUB (KGET-17, NBC – April 12, 2021)
- New information revealed concerning suspect vehicle in hit-and-run that killed 65-year-old woman (The Bakersfield Californian – April 12, 2021)
- BPD makes arrest in fatal 2020 hit-and-run (The Bakersfield Californian – April 30, 2021)
- Woman arrested in connection to deadly hit-and-run near CSUB back in July 2020 (Eyewitness News – April 30, 2021)
- Arrest made in fatal hit-and-run in July, killing 65-year-old Deborah Ann Geneau (23ABC News – April 30, 2021)
- Driver suspected in deadly 2020 Stockdale Highway hit-and-run arrested: BPD (KGET-17, NBC – April 30, 2021)