Trucker charged in Fayette County with fatal hit-and-run opts for bench trial

FAYETTE COUNTY — A 60-year-old Buffalo, Missouri man charged with a fatal hit-and-run along Interstate 70 in Fayette County last June has moved to have his Monday jury trial vacated and instead be tried by a judge next month.

Ray Ryan
(Source: FCSO)

Ray L. Ryan was arrested in Ohio just days after 46-year-old Peter F. Peters of Elmira, Ontario, Canada was found dead along the side of the interstate near Mulberry Grove.

Ryan was in Fayette County court Thursday for a pre-trial conference prior to his scheduled jury trial Monday. The hearing was continued to Friday when a conference was held with the prosecution, the defense, and the judge.

The defendant agreed at Friday’s hearing to vacate the scheduled jury trial and instead proceed toward a bench trial on February 6. He’s charged with Class 1 felony failure to report an accident involving a death. A Class 1 felony is punishable by between 4 and 15 years if convicted.

According to Illinois State Police, a semi rig driven by Ryan was identified as the suspect vehicle and was located in Cambridge, Ohio, about an hour and a half east of Columbus, Ohio.

Peters was reportedly standing outside his rig on the side of I-70 about three miles east of Mulberry Grove when the rig was sideswiped. Peters was apparently pinched between the vehicles and resulting in his death. The rig reportedly driven by Ryan then left the scene, headed east.

The crash resulted in the closure of eastbound I-70 near Mulberry Grove for seven hours while State Police completed their investigation.