Reddit sleuth helps police identify car part, leads to fatal hit-and-run arrest

A Reddit sleuth has helped police identify a car part, leading to an arrest following a fatal hit-and-run incident in Washington State.

On Aug. 9, Washington State Patrol Trooper Johnna Batiste tweeted an image of the car part. “Troopers and detectives are still looking for a black vehicle believed to be involved in this mornings tragic bicyclist fatality. If you know anything regarding this collision, please call the Washing State Patrol.”

The photo of the small piece of metal was posted to the “whatisthisthing” subreddit, which is used to identify objects, plants and animals, according to the BBC. One user on the subreddit, “JeffsNuts,” who describes himself as a Maryland State Vehicle Inspector, identified the object as a headlamp bezel from a 1988 Chevy Silverado.

A number of other users also weighed in on the piece of metal.

POLICE OFFICERS TEST NEW RESTRAINT TECHNOLOGY

On Tuesday, Batiste tweeted that the subreddit provided vital information that helped police make an arrest in the case. “WSP detectives made an arrest today for Thursday’s fatal bicyclist hit and run in Eatonville. Reddit users identify a photographed broken car part as a mid 1980s Chevy truck headlight assembly. Local anonymous tip confirms and led to the arrest of a driver of an 1986 Chevy K-10,” she wrote.

The news was welcomed on the subreddit. “You did it reddit,” posted one user. “Nice find u/JeffsNuts.”

Highlighting the potential of Internet forums for good, another user drew comparisons with the 2015 incident when a Reddit user helped alert another commenter to the presence of carbon monoxide in his home.

“This is the coolest thing to happen on reddit since the carbon monoxide incident,” the user wrote.

“Definitely. Really cool to see some actual good come from this,” added another user.

Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers