Hit-and-run driver who 'didn't want to go back to jail' after killing pedestrian sentenced to 9 years in prison

Jeremaya Gross

MILWAUKEE -- A man who said he didn't stop because he "didn't want to go back to jail" after fatally striking a pedestrian in October 2019 was sentenced to prison Monday, July 6.

Jeremaya Gross, 21, pleaded guilty in February to one count of hit-and-run, resulting in death. In court Monday, he was sentenced to serve nine years in prison, and six years' extended supervision.

Roy Mendez, 68, died from his injuries days after the crash which happened around 7 p.m. on Oct. 19 near 23rd Street and Greenfield Avenue. The incident was captured by surveillance cameras -- and the video showed the moments leading up to impact. Afterward, the video showed the driver did not slow down or even hesitate -- continuing eastbound on Greenfield.

Man struck by hit-and-run vehicle near 23rd and Greenfield, Milwaukee

Man struck by hit-and-run vehicle near 23rd and Greenfield, Milwaukee

Roy Mendez

Mendez was left for dead in the street. He died on Oct. 30 while at Froedtert Hospital.

The criminal complaint against Gross said investigators "located a front grille piece of a vehicle at the crash scene, and were able to locate a serial number from that car part." Officials said the part belonged to a 2003-2006 Honda Accord.

The complaint said five days later, "MPD located a vehicle of that make and model that had damage consistent with the accident (a shattered front passenger windshield) and was missing that piece of the grille." The vehicle identification number for the car was "registered to Jeremaya Gross."

Prosecutors said Gross admitted to an investigating officer that he was driving the Honda, "hit someone, and did not stop because he didn't want to go back to jail."