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Hit and run probe continues, yields little

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

A Saturday morning hit and run that took place just outside Nevada has claimed the life of an Arkansas man who was visiting the area to attend a funeral, according to the Vernon County Sheriff Ron Peckman.

The death of James E. Besaw, 22, of Rogers, Ark., is still under investigation by the Vernon County Sheriff's Office and the Missouri State Highway Patrol's Major Crash Investigation Unit, according to Peckman.

Several Vernon County deputies and state troopers are trying to find out exactly what happened when Besaw was killed during the hit and run incident that occurred as Besaw walked on County Road 1400 northwest of Nevada on Saturday. An online incident report gives a time of 3:50 a.m.; but a press release from the Patrol said it was "between the hours of 1:15 a.m. and 4 a.m." and that "the Vernon County Coroner's Office pronounced Besaw dead at the scene."

Peckman said "it's a terrible thing," but there is not a lot of information yet. He also said there is no evidence of a homicide -- other than a vehicular homicide. "It looks like he was run over," Peckman said.

Authorities believe Besaw was walking to his parent's house on Minie Ball Road when the incident occurred. Authorities also believe they know "what kind of vehicle" was involved, said Peckman. According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol public information officer for Troop D, Sergeant Mike Watson, "Troopers feel like the driver was traveling north on 1400 Road when Besaw was struck."

Watson said it is a "criminal investigation -- a felony leaving the scene of an accident."

Peckman said investigators already have conducted several interviews and know that the young man had been at several parties during the hours leading up to his death. Authorities are still trying to "track some people down and talk to them," Peckman said and he hoped they could get an autopsy completed Monday.

The Patrol is asking for the public's assistance in identifying the driver and vehicle involved in this crash.

Anyone with information should call the Patrol's Troop D Headquarters at (417) 895-6868 or the Vernon County Sheriff's Office at (417) 283-4400.

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He did grow up in Nevada and had many friends here.

-- Posted by TerryB on Tue, May 15, 2012, at 6:47 AM

RIP James. To his family, I offer my sincere condolences. I am a Cottey grad of 2006 and a huge part of the theater department. James was a great guy and a wonderful actor. It was an honor to have known him. I hope that the Vernon County Police catch whomever it was that did this horrible thing... to take a life is a tragedy, to take the life of a young man in his prime, with so much life and promise is an even greater sin.

My thoughts and prayers to his family and friends in this time of sorrow and distress.

-- Posted by Stambie on Tue, May 15, 2012, at 8:27 AM

My sympathies to the Besaw family. Please, if anyone knows anything, come forward. It is the right thing to do.

-- Posted by IcedGreenTea on Tue, May 15, 2012, at 8:57 AM

He was a former resident but recently had made the move to.Rogers, AR where his mother, sister and brother now live. So USS MO, you're wrong on that count. He came back to Nevada frequently but he considered Rogers AR his home.

-- Posted by mvenice on Tue, May 15, 2012, at 9:46 AM

This incident is a real shame, and I hope that it does not go unsolved like other murders in Nevada's past have.

-- Posted by cmo1981 on Tue, May 15, 2012, at 9:58 AM

amazing how I saw him daily but mvenice knows better. His family had moved except for his dad whom he was helping so the clueless one can take that and stuff it. I have known this young mans family and him for over a decade now, and am proud to call him friend.

-- Posted by USS_Missouri on Tue, May 15, 2012, at 5:21 PM

so sad that in the event of a young man's death the USS MO has to inject himself in the story...can it ever be not about you just one time?

-- Posted by jimmy burke conway on Wed, May 16, 2012, at 9:06 AM

So " Authorities also believe they know "what kind of vehicle" was involved, said Peckman. " ..... Might help if we knew the vehicle....small town, we all know what our neighbors drive...just wondering...

-- Posted by Mima55 on Wed, May 16, 2012, at 12:07 PM

I have heard it was a grey/silver PT cruiser, but have no way of knowing how true that is. Seems like the public would be glad to help if given enough info to do so.

-- Posted by rninprogress on Wed, May 16, 2012, at 3:54 PM

Sheriff Peckman, the public will help if they can. Just ask The Chief.

-- Posted by TerryB on Wed, May 16, 2012, at 4:00 PM

Unlike what some would spout to cover for their antics this is not about me! This is about getting the right information out to find the killer of this wonderful young man. There are many rumors going around now but truth is they are still gathering and following up on leads. So if you know something don't listen to babbling fools this was a local kid active in the community that needs and deserves help.

-- Posted by USS_Missouri on Thu, May 17, 2012, at 5:51 PM

I agree Missouri dont listen to the rumors.

-- Posted by Denis Cannon on Fri, May 18, 2012, at 8:57 PM

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