By GARY POPP
JEFFERSONVILLE — Police are continuing to investigate the whereabouts of the driver who fled from a vehicle after crashing into a Jeffersonville duplex, which resulted in a fire that burned the building to the ground last week.
A blue Volkswagen Jetta struck the side of the duplex in the 800 block of Watt Street at the corner of Ninth Street in the early morning hours of Feb. 6.
During the crash, the vehicle ruptured a gas line and an electrical utility box on the side of the structure, Jeffersonville Fire Department officials said.
Fire officials have determined the cause of the fire as an electric spark released by the damaged utility box that ignited gas escaping from the ruptured line. Fire officials also clarified that the vehicle left the road and sideswiped the residence with its passenger side and continued into the backyard of the property before coming to a stop.
Jeffersonville Police Detective Todd Hollis said witnesses saw two Hispanic men fleeing the vehicle after impact was made with the duplex.
The identities of the two men have not been confirmed, Hollis said, but police are actively working the case.
He said the vehicle is not reported stolen and that its owner has not stepped forward.
“This has been a difficult investigation,” Hollis said, adding that there has been little cooperation given to investigators.
To protect the investigation, Hollis declined to say if the proper owner of the vehicle has been confirmed by police, but expects to reveal more details of the investigation after an arrest is made or an arrest warrant is issued.
He said once the driver is taken into custody, he could face charges of leaving the scene of an accident and criminal recklessness, in addition to other charges.
The duplex fire resulted in no injuries. A man, a woman and their two dogs exited one of the apartments before the fire destroyed the building. The occupants of the second apartment were not home at the time of the fire.