Nashville man arrested in 2016 hit-and-run that killed Columbia bicyclist

Marcus Dilmore (Mug: Columbia Police Department)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – A Nashville man is behind bars in Maury County, charged with killing a Columbia bike rider almost nine months ago.

Columbia police have been working tirelessly on the case, and they credit News 2 viewers for the tips that helped crack it.

Around Dec. 7, 2016, James Mealer was riding his bike home from his job at a local McDonald’s when a truck mowed him down. The 50-year-old died, and the driver next stopped.

(Courtesy: Columbia Police Department)

The case remained unsolved until now, and for the past nine months, Richard Mealer has wondered who hit his brother, leaving him to die in the street.

“I would like to know why and how someone could hit someone like that and leave them lying in the rain. I hear he bounced like a basketball,” Richard Mealer told News 2.

In June, a grand jury indicted Marcus Dilmore in the case. On Tuesday, he was arrested in Antioch and charged with vehicular homicide.

“I got emotional. I hope now justice will be served. I always thought I could let go and forgive; I just need to know who to forgive,” Richard Mealer said.

According to police in Columbia, the case was cold until News 2 aired multiple stories showing surveillance video of Mealer riding his bike as a dark truck hit him.

“I will never forget the day the detective called me and said we got the truck, we are in the driveway with it. He was elated,” said Lt. Josh Davis.

Richard Mealer holding a photograph of his brother, James Mealer (Photo: WKRN)

Police say they have truck parts from the scene that match the truck driven by Dilmore, as well as other evidence.

Dilmore worked at a body shop and they believe it’s possible he may have fixed the damage to his own vehicle, according to authorities.

Lt. Davis told News 2, “That’s what our current theory is, and that’s what evidence suggests. Yes sire, through witnesses we can put him in the neighborhood and we can put him in the truck at the time of the accident.”

During an interview, police say Dilmore didn’t confess, but “the most he says is if he is the offender, it was an accident, and he was not aware he done it. He doesn’t admit to doing it,” Lt. Davis explained.

Richard Mealer had been estranged from his brother for many years. When asked what he would say to him now, he said, “I miss him and regret I didn’t have an opportunity to make things right him.”

Dilmore remains in the Maury County jail on $100,00 bond. Detectives say he had a DUI charge prior to the crash, and he has received a second DUI since the night of the deadly accident.