Felton man sentenced to year in prison in fatal hit and run

Nathan W. Jester Jr.

DOVER — A Felton man convicted after a fatal hit and run two years ago received a year in prison in Superior Court earlier this month.

Upon release, Nathan W. Jester Jr. will serve a year of Level III probation on two felony counts and a bond violation for driving before his two-day bench trial in July 2018.

Roger L. Coberly Jr., 35, was struck by a vehicle and died near his home on Sept. 5, 2017 while walking his dog on the shoulder of Willow Grove Road (Del. 10) east of Sandtown Road. The driver left the scene around 9:07 p.m., police said, and Jester was later identified as a suspect following Delaware State Police investigation and public tips to Delaware Crime Stoppers.

Jester was convicted of leaving the scene of a fatal collision and failure to report a collision resulting in death. The minimum-mandatory sentence was six months.

Mr. Coberly was located by his wife and pronounced dead at the scene by Kent County Paramedics. Jester was located by police the next day.

Prosecution argued at trial that while fault in the collision was not determined by police, Jester acted improperly after the collision.

Following the verdict announcement last summer, Mr. Coberly’s wife commented to media outside the courtroom that “All I want to say is nobody wins in this. Neither family. That’s all.”

Besides his wife, Mr. Coberly was survived by three children of the home. He was a self-employed construction worker.

Resident Judge William L. Witham Jr. oversaw the trial, with Deputy Attorney General Kathleen Dickerson prosecuting and attorney Andre’ M. Beauregard representing the defendant.

According to Mr. Beauregard, “It was a tragedy on all sides. During a pre-sentence investigation (Jester) indicated that if he could he would take the place of Mr. Coberly.”

Authorities earlier said Jester, 35, was driving a 2007 Chevrolet Cobalt when the collision occurred, shattering the vehicle’s front windshield. Mr. Coberly’s dog was uninjured and ran back to his residence, police said.

The driver did not call 911 or attempt to provide assistance at the scene, the judge noted at trial, and failed to contact police after learning that a news release had been issued.

At trial, Jester maintained that he earlier hit a deer on a nearby road that night and struck another deer approximately three months earlier.

Reach staff writer Craig Anderson at canderson@newszap.com

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