Fort Wayne man charged in fatal January 2021 hit-and-run

Richard L. Schlatter
Richard L. Schlatter(Staff)
Published: Aug. 18, 2022 at 3:40 PM EDT
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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA) - A warrant has been issued for a 45-year-old Fort Wayne man who has been charged in a fatal hit-and-run that happened in January 2021.

A probable cause says Fort Wayne Police (FWPD) believe Richard L. Schlatter is the driver of a van that left the scene of a crash at the intersection of W. Washington Boulevard and Fairfield Avenue just after 4:15 p.m. on January 17, 2021.

Documents say that Schlatter, who had his driving privileges suspended at the time, was involved in an argument with two men when one of the two men was stabbed in the arm. The man that was stabbed, Robert Koenig, Jr., called 911 to report the stabbing and told dispatchers he was on his way to the hospital. Koenig stayed on the phone with dispatchers while his friend, Albert Eccard drove him.

Eccard told FWPD officers that while they were on the way to the hospital, a white van, driven by Schlatter, tried to hit him and then chased them down the street for about a minute. Documents say Eccard lost control of his green Subaru Forester after Schlatter ‘rammed’ him, causing the car to hit a tree. The crash injured Eccard and killed Koenig. Eccard told police Schlatter did not stop to help after the crash.

Officers detained Schlatter the night of the crash and questioned him about the crash. The court documents say Schlatter refused to cooperate with officers and was released.

Officers were able to look at surveillance cameras located at the Allen County Library and saw a white van pursuing a green Subaru Forester west on Washington Center Road, make contact, causing the car to crash, and then continue on without stopping to help or call 911.

Police impounded Schlatter’s van and took green paint samples from it. The samples were then sent to the Indiana State Police lab for testing. Test results returned in January of 2022 confirm that the paint could have come from the hood of the Subaru or something similar.

Schlatter was charged with a misdemeanor driving while suspended, with a prior conviction, and two counts of leaving the scene of an accident causing death and causing serious bodily injury.