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Police arrest Freer hit-and-run suspect

A "Missouri area" man arrested in the case of the hit-and-run death of Tracy Freer of Dickinson is scheduled to make his first appearance before a Stark County Court judge today at 10:30 a.m.

It's been nearly three and a half months since Freer, 47, was killed when he was run over in the parking lot of the Dickinson motel he owned, but an investigation has led the Dickinson Police Department to 47-year-old Timothy J. Menges, who was arrested around 5 p.m. Monday for negligent homicide, a Class C felony.

"We received information from multiple sources over the course of the weekend that led us to believe there was credibility to the information," Sgt. Kylan Klauzer said. "Officers began to follow through with the information on Sunday and on Monday afternoon made contact with Mr. Menges."

They spoke with him around 2 p.m. or 3 p.m. Monday and arrested him by 5 p.m., he said.

Whether Menges confessed to the incident was not disclosed as the case is still under investigation, Klauzer said.

Shortly after midnight on Nov. 21, Freer let his dog out to relieve itself, his wife, Roberta, previously told The Press.

The call came into dispatch at 12:55 a.m. that Wednesday morning before Thanksgiving that Freer had been found lying in the parking lot of the Queen City Motel, which he owned and operated, Klauzer said. As officers and ambulance personnel arrived it appeared that Freer had been struck by a vehicle.

Freer was brought to St. Joseph's Hospital and Health Center and then sent on to Bismarck when he passed away en route, he said.

"There was some information right away that gave us a general idea of a vehicle to be on the lookout for," Klazer said. "The information that was given to us right away and up to this point has led us to believe (that he was struck by) a pickup ... possibly gray in color, possibly a Dodge."

Menges owns a gray Dodge Dakota, he said.

The family is "very relieved" that an arrest has been made in the case, said John Stevens, Freer's brother.

"Everybody I've talked to, my family and everything, is -- they're sighing a big sigh of relief that we may get some closure out of this," he said, adding that the last few months have been "very frustrating" not knowing anything.

Recently the family posted a $15,000 reward for information leading to the conviction of someone in this incident, Stevens said.

The police believe that a weighty mind had just as much to do with the arrest as the reward.

"We just believe that because of the severity of the case that the conscience just started to weigh heavily and that's something I think that probably was as important or more important than the money being offered," Klauzer said. "That's not to downplay any sort of reward that was offered by the family because it was big of them to come forward and to offer the amount that they did."

The family is ready to take the case to court, Stevens said. "I have faith in the justice system."

Menges is from the "Missouri area," Klauzer said.

"He is not a -- by the standards of the community of Dickinson -- native," he said.

According to criminal case records, Menges was convicted last March of exhibition driving, failure to wear a seat belt and DUI. In August he was convicted of carrying a concealed firearm or weapon and a charge of preventing arrest or discharge of other duties was dropped. As of Tuesday, he carried a balance of $325 relating to the concealed weapons charge.

"I'd like to thank the detectives and the Dickinson Police Department for their work on this," Stevens said. "My brother, Tracy, will find some peace out of this finally."

Calls to Roberta Freer went unreturned Tuesday.

Katherine Grandstrand
I graduated from Bemidji State University in 2007 with a bachelor's degree in mass communcations, from Columbia College Chicago in 2009 with a master's degree in journalism.  
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