Robert H. Eckeard, 29, was arrested Sept. 6


Detectives with the Delaware State Police have arrested a Hartly man in connection with a fatal hit and run crash involving an Amish buggy near Hartly.

Division spokesman Master Cpl. Gary Fournier said Robert H. Eckeard, 29, was arrested at his home Wednesday, Sept. 6.

According to documents released by Justice of the Peace Court 7, the crash took place at 8:05 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 31, at the corner of Halltown Road (Route 8) and Hartly Road.

A dark-colored car, later identified as a green Chevrolet Lumina owned by Eckeard, had collided with the buggy as the horse-drawn vehicle which was headed westbound and turning into the Royal Farms convenience store.

The driver, Ervin Miller, 55, of Hartly, was thrown from the buggy and died at the scene. Police report his wife suffered fractures to her spine and lower back.

State police received a tip through the Crime Stoppers network that ultimately led to Eckeard’s arrest.

Police interviewed the tipster Sept. 3, who told them he’d gotten a call from another person that Eckheard was looking for him. He went to Eckeard’s home where Eckears said, “he was just involved in an accident and probably just killed someone.”

Eckeard allegedly said the collision with the buggy had “split it in half.”

The witness told police he inspected the Lumina and noticed the hood had been damaged.

On Sept. 6, police interviewed the second man, who said Eckeard had contacted him the night of the collision. The witness surmised Eckeard had wanted his friend to hide the damaged vehicle in his garage, according to court papers.

As a result, Eckeard is charged with leaving the scene of a collision resulting in death, failure to report a collision resulting in death, failure to show proof of insurance, and having expired tags.

Other charges may be levied following a grand jury investigation, according to Department of Justice spokesman Carl Kanefsky.

“The investigations are obviously in the early stages,” Kanefsky said. “The initial arrest charges were based on the information gathered thus far, but the investigation is still ongoing and the case will be indicted upon completion.”

He was arraigned at Justice of the Peace Court 2 and committed to the Vaughn Correctional Center, Smyrna, on a $7,002 cash bond.


Delaware State Police are investigating the death of an Amish man and serious injuries to his wife following a hit and run crash near Hartly.

Delaware State Police spokesman Master Cpl. Gary Fournier said the crash took place at 8:05 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 31, at the corner of Halltown Road (Route 8) and Hartly Road.

The driver, 55-year-old Ervin Miller, was driving a horse-drawn buggy when he tried to turn left into the Royal Farms store. A car headed eastbound on Route 8 hit the buggy, throwing Miller and his 55-year-old wife onto the road.

The vehicle failed to stop and possibly turned northbound onto Pearsons Corner Road, Fournier said.

Miller was taken to the Kent campus of Bayhealth Hospital, where he later was pronounced dead. His wife was admitted there in critical condition.

The car only was described as a dark colored older passenger-style vehicle that may have considerable damage to the front bumper, hood and window.

Witnesses at the scene said the force of the impact with the car demolished the buggy.

The horse ran from the scene and later turned up at the Miller home. It is not known if it was injured, Fournier said.

Route 8 was closed for about 3.5 hours as the crash was investigated and cleared.

The Collision Reconstruction Unit is continuing their investigation into this incident.

Anyone with information on this crash is asked to contact Detective Killen at 302-698-8451.

Information also may be provided by calling Delaware Crime Stoppers at 800-TIP-3333, via the Internet at, or by sending a text to 274637 (CRIMES), starting the message with the keyword “DSP.”