A tragic hit and run accident outside the Chicago area forever changed the lives of the Lech family.
But in a small way NASCAR driver Kevin Conway has helped the family cope with the grief of losing a loved one by helping identify the man who killed Melissa Lech.
Conway and the Nemco Motorsports team started featuring local missing persons cases on the back of his car in 2011 as a way to connect with NASCAR fans and the local communities supporting the races.
His car featured information about the Lech case when Conway competed at Chicagoland Speedway last September.
It led to David McCarthy to show up at Lech's sister's house in Joliet, Illinois and admit he was responsible for striking and killing the 20-year-old college student.
McCarthy said he had seen reports about the case on local news as well as information surrounding Conway's car during the September Chase opener held at Chicagoland Speedway.
He admitted his guilt and turned himself in as a result and Conway is thrilled his effort could help bring justice.
“We have so many fans around the country, millions of people watching on TV and thousands in attendance,” Conway told The Chicago Sun-Times. “We wanted to use the platform that NASCAR gives us to tie it back into the community.”
Conway did have a chance to meet the Lech family while in Joliet and hopes the arrest can bring closure.
“I’ve lost my sister and my father,” he said. “I know what personal grief is like. To know they will be able to work through it from this point forward.
“It’s kind of mixed emotions — I’m glad this worked but still feel for the Lech family and their loss.”
Conway hopes that other stories will also come from the effort.
“For us to play a small part in solving one of these cases and to help bring closure — it’s humbling, and it’s a great honor to be affiliated with that and to play a role in that,” Conway told the paper.
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