Road salt on a suspect's bumper was just the right seasoning to enable Madison police to make an arrest Friday night of an alleged drunken driver involved in a hit-and-run crash on the east side.
The road salt on the suspect's front bumper had an imprint of the car brand "Pontiac" embedded in it, and that was the make of car the man allegedly hit.
Richard Moran, 52, of Verona, was arrested for his alleged sixth felony drunken driving offense, as well as hit and run and failure to have insurance.
The crash was reported at 6:27 p.m. Friday in the 5200 block of High Crossing Boulevard, according to a police news release.
Two sisters, a 20-year-old from Madison and a 16-year-old from Stoughton, were in the Pontiac on High Crossing Boulevard, heading to Eastgate Cinemas for a movie.
The older sister was driving in the left turn lane of eastbound High Crossing, when her car was rear-ended by the suspect's car.
"She got out to exchange insurance information when he drove away," said police spokesman Joel DeSpain.
The young woman told a responding officer that she works at a hotel near a busy intersection, and has gotten into a habit of memorizing license plate numbers of vehicles involved in crashes.
"She was 100 percent sure she had the correct plate number of the car that hit her car," DeSpain said.
The officer ran the plate number through the police computer and came up with a possible suspect name, and the type of vehicle he drove.
"While driving in the area, the officer spotted the offending vehicle," DeSpain said. "The driver said he didn't do anything wrong, but embedded in the road salt dust of his scraped-up front bumper was an imprint of the word 'Pontiac,' only in reverse."
"The arrest was made, in large part, to the good trained memory of the driver, and to road salt dust," DeSpain said.