Prosecutors Seek Murder Conviction in Western Kentucky Hit-and-Run Trial

Feb 21, 2012

A man charged in the hit-and-run death of a girl in Western Kentucky is on trial this week in Daviess County Circuit Court.  Jeffrey Kotarek of Utica admits he was in the area where the accident occurred, but did not strike 13-year-old Madalynn Matlock. 

The 47-year-old Kotarek is charged with murder, leaving the scene of an accident, and evidence tampering.  The charges stem from a 2010 accident on Old Kentucky 54 near Philpot. 

The Messenger-Inquirer in Owensboro reported on the opening day of the trial Monday, in which Commonwealth’s Attorney Bruce Kuegel told jurors vehicle debris was recovered from the scene matching a vehicle Kotarek sold to a co-worker two days after the accident.  Witnesses testified seeing the vehicle leaving the scene at a high rate of speed and others testified that Kotarek had been drinking that day. 

Jeffrey Kotarek has admitted being in the area of the hit-and-run, but maintains the damage to his vehicle was caused by hitting a deer.  His attorney told jurors he had drunk alcohol that day, but was not intoxicated. 

The defense also presented a photo of Kotarek’s s-u-v in a different color from what witnesses described leaving the scene.

The trial is expected to last through the end of the week.