Arrest made in Indio hit-and-run crash that killed a pregnant 18-year-old

A suspect is behind bars in connection with a hit-and-run crash that took the life of a pregnant 18-year-old woman earlier this year.

The crash happened on the morning of March 9, 2021 in front of the Winchell’s Donuts store on Monroe Street, north of Highway 111. Debbie Nelson, 18, was the passenger of a Dodge Dart that crashed into a power pole on the roadway. Nelson suffered critical injuries, she was pronounced dead in the hospital three days later.

The driver of the vehicle, described only as a man, ran away from the scene before police arrived.

Family spent the next nine months continuing to ask for the community to come forward with information that would lead to an arrest. They were just at the site of the crash last week, to commemorate what would have been Nelson’s 19th birthday.

After months of searching for answers, Debbie’s family finally heard the news they’ve been waiting so long to hear, an arrest has been made.

Indio Police confirmed that a suspect in the case was taken into custody on the morning of Wednesday, Dec. 1.

The man, identified as a 21-year-old, faces charges of Hit-and-Run causing death/injury and vehicular manslaughter, according to county jail records. He is being held at the John Benoit Detention Center on $500,000 bail.

The man is scheduled to appear in court on Dec. 3 at the Larson Justice Center.

If anyone has any further information regarding this case, please contact the Indio Police Departments Traffic Unit (760) 391-4051 or call anonymously at Valley Crime Stoppers at (760) 341-STOP(7867).

“The Indio Police Department extends our deepest sympathies to the victim’s family and friends.”