LOS GATOS -- Three months after a Santa Cruz motorcyclist was hit by an SUV on Highway 17 and left for dead by a driver who sped off, authorities Monday announced the arrest of a woman who investigators had their eye on since the incident happened.
Joline Faye Cohen, 47, who lives in the Los Gatos area, turned herself in to Santa Clara County authorities Feb. 24 after an arrest warrant was issued in the December collision that killed 36-year-old Michael Schaupp.
Cohen was booked on suspicion of hit-and-run causing death and has since been released from custody pending a court hearing. California Highway Patrol officials said they timed their announcement to coincide with Cohen's arraignment on Tuesday.
According to the CHP, Schaupp was riding his 1996 Honda motorcycle northbound on Highway 17 around 1:25 p.m. Dec. 10 and was approaching Idylwild Road south of the Lexington Reservoir when a black 1994 Ford Explorer registered to Cohen drove into his path.
Schaupp hit the SUV and the impact threw him 20 feet across the roadway, the CHP said. The Ford briefly stopped, then continued traveling north. It was later found abandoned at the Bear Creek Road off-ramp with the driver nowhere to be found.
Schaupp, whom friends said was a father and musician, was declared brain-dead that night and died the next day after his family arranged for his organs to be donated.
Investigators said they suspected Cohen soon after the collision, but a lack of witnesses to the crash and difficulty locating her prevented them from making an arrest sooner. The warrant was obtained after the CHP built a case based on "physical evidence" and "numerous interviews with concerned citizens having knowledge of the investigation," according to a statement.
The CHP deferred additional comment to the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office, which did not immediately have a comment on the case.
Contact Robert Salonga at 408-920-5002. Follow him at Twitter.com/robertsalonga.