A 42-year-old woman was arrested on suspicion of causing the fatal hit-and-run crash last year that killed 65-year-old Deborah Ann Geneau, a case in which Chain | Cohn | Stiles and the Geneau family offered a reward.
Stephanie Heninger was arrested and pleaded not guilty to vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence and hit-and-run charges connected to the July 22 crash near CSU Bakersfield. The family of Deborah Geneau and Bakersfield law firm Chain | Cohn | Stiles had offered a reward to $7,500 for the person who helped identify the driver of a 2013-2019 dark gray Nissan Sentra that was suspected of causing the crash on Stockdale Highway near Don Hart Drive. That vehicle turned into the bike path parking area across from CSUB immediately after the collision, police said. It had driver’s side damage.
Police learned through GPS location data that Heninger had been at the scene of the crash, according to a probable cause declaration reported by KGET-17. Police also obtained a statement from Heninger confirming she was the driver who left the scene, according to reports.
The vehicle in the incident was seized in Riverside County, Bakersfield Police reported. While police received several tips, police investigations ultimately led to the arrest. The court case is ongoing.
“On behalf of the Geneau family, I want to extend their sincerest thank you to Bakersfield Police Department, and especially Officer Chad Ott,” said Chain | Cohn | Stiles lawyer Matt Clark, the Geneau family’s attorney. “It is a direct result of Officer Ott’s persistence and tenaciousness that a suspect has been brought to justice.”
After Bakersfield Police Department completed its report into the crash, which was 165-pages long, officers recommended felony charges against the driver, including hit-and-run, vehicular manslaughter, and unsafe lane change. Chain | Cohn | Stiles has filed lawsuits on behalf of the Geneau family against two other driver’s involved in the fatal crash. Both of those drivers were also speeding 10-15 mph above the 55 mph speed limit at the time of the collision, according to police.
Bakersfield Police Department released a video of surveillance camera angles. The angles included traffic cameras and footage from a Golden Empire Transportation bus that was in the vicinity of the crash.
At a previous press conference in July 2020 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.
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.”
If you or someone you know is injured in an accident at the fault of someone else, or injured on the job no matter whose fault it is, contact the attorneys at Chain | Cohn | Stiles by calling (661) 323-4000, or fill out a free consultation form at chainlaw.com.
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)
- Family of Deborah Geneau reacts to arrest made in fatal hit-and-run (KBAK Eyewitness News, CBS – May 3, 2021) (Web Version)
- Driver suspected in deadly 2020 Stockdale Highway hit-and-run pleads not guilty (KGET-17, NBC – May 4, 2021) (Web Version)
- New detail released by bpd in woman’s hit and run death (KUZZ News – May 4, 2021)
- Suspect of Deadly Hit and Run Arraigned (KBAK Eyewitness News, CBS – May 4, 2021)
- GPS data helped nab suspect in deadly 2020 Stockdale Highway hit-and-run, report says (KGET-17, NBC – May 11, 2021)
- White decal the key to cracking fatal hit-and-run: reports (KGET-17, NBC – June 22, 2021)