Tahoe Police arrest hit-and-run suspect | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Tahoe Police arrest hit-and-run suspect

by Gregory Crofton, Tribune staff writer

Police arrested a 42-year-old Stateline man for allegedly hitting a woman the night of Sept. 10 with his 1998 white Jeep Cherokee.

Guia Orbeta, a 66-year-old from Daly City, Calif., was found unconscious with a head injury, lying on a sidewalk just west of U.S. Highway 50 around 9:30 p.m. She was pronounced dead at Barton Memorial Hospital.

South Lake Tahoe police said they discovered David Keith Burnam had taken his Cherokee – the type of vehicle they believed to be involved in the incident – to a Carson City body shop Sept. 11 to inquire about having front-end damage repaired.

Employees of the body shop, who had read a newspaper article regarding the hit-and-run, told police they became suspicious when Burnam asked them to keep the repair a secret.

Police traced the license plate number recorded by the body shop to a Meyers residence at the 1200 block of Ottawa Avenue. Investigators found Burnam, a former Meyers resident who has since moved to Stateline, at the address Thursday and took him into custody around 9:35 a.m. for felony hit-and-run.

“He said he was driving east on U.S. Highway 50 at the time the accident occurred,” said Detective Martin Hewlett. “However, he didn’t remember being involved in any accident. There’s no indication that he was impaired while driving.”

Investigators began searching for a 1997 or newer Jeep Cherokee with front-end damage after tracing automobile debris they found near Orbeta.

She was visiting South Lake Tahoe with several relatives who had dropped her off at Stateline casinos Sept. 10. Her family members reported her missing to Douglas County Sheriff’s Office at 3:15 a.m. Once South Lake Tahoe police learned of the report, they were able to identify Orbeta.

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