A man accused of a fatal hit-and-run outside a Parkland bar pleaded not guilty Friday at arraignment.
Pierce County prosecutors said 37-year-old Shamus Von Berks fled to Florida after he hit Earl Switzer Jr. with his truck Feb. 2, and left him for dead.
Switzer was hurt after he allegedly broke a fence at the bar and restaurant in the 10700 block of Park Avenue South and tried to fight with customers.
By the time sheriff's deputies arrived he’d left. While deputies were still at the bar, a passer-by found Switzer two blocks down the road. He’d suffered what eventually would be a fatal head injury.
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A bench warrant later was issued for Von Berks’ arrest, and he was booked into the Pierce County Jail late Thursday.
Superior Court Commissioner Meagan Foley set bail at $100,000 for Von Berks, who had yet to retain an attorney. He’s charged with the hit-and-run, and for driving with a suspended license.
He allegedly fled after he hit Switzer, 45, with his truck in the 10700 block of Park Avenue South. Switzer died from his injuries March 18.
His family and investigators with the Sheriff’s Department asked anyone with information to come forward after the wreck. Deputies got a tip in February that Von Berks had talked about a hit-and-run, and they spoke with his parents.
His mother and her partner told them Von Berks had confessed to the hit-and-run, and they’d gotten him a plane ticket to Florida.
They “were sort of waiting for someone to ask,” Deputy Prosecutor Tim Jones said in court.
It didn’t appear Switzer’s family or Von Berks’ attended the arraignment.