Authorities have made an arrest in Warren County in a case where a Hungarian immigrant was killed during a hit-and-run in Smithville two and a half years ago.
The body of 51-year-old Gyula Gulyas of Brush Creek was found by a passing motorist in the pre-dawn hours of Dec. 9, 2018, lying in the roadway in front of DeKalb Middle School on Highway 70.
The exact time of what lawmen suspect was a fatal hit and run is unknown. However, investigators learned Gulyas was seen alive as he was leaving Twisted Oaks earlier that morning.
Trooper Bobby Johnson, who is heading the probe of Gulyas’ death, said the victim’s Kia Soul became stuck in a ditch as he was trying to leave the establishment. He then set out on foot, and began walking along Highway 70 toward Smithville. Gulyas later got a ride into town and was dropped off near the hospital. That was the last reported sighting of Gulyas alive.
While there were no apparent witnesses to the fatal accident, authorities believed the hit-and-run driver was behind the wheel of a silver 2006 to 2010 Jeep Commander SUV due to paint chips and a portion of the grill found on the highway near the victim’s body.
Smithville Police aided in the THP investigation and officers were able to gather surveillance videos from several local businesses to piece together the events and identify the suspect’s vehicle.
On Tuesday, July 13, Anthony Hartle, 34, was arrested in Warren County following a DeKalb County grand jury sealed indictment for vehicular homicide. Hartle was identified as a suspect through the THP investigation.
The indictment had been handed down several months ago, but Hartle could not be found until authorities got a tip he was staying at a townhouse in McMinnville. Warren County officials were able to locate him and place him in custody.