A murder suspect made a serious blunder: hanging a rosary and cross on the rear-view mirror for good luck.
To a South Dakota Highway Patrol trooper cruising on Interstate 90 in Sioux Falls on Wednesday, neither the religious items nor the 1998 Plymouth Voyager in which they were hanging jibed with the van's scruffy occupants.
The trooper didn't know that a day earlier a first-degree murder warrant had been issued for the driver, 26-year-old Shad Chiszar of Pasco County, in connection with the beating death of Hudson motorcycle shop owner Ronald J. Egyed. But a computer search quickly turned that up.
Chiszar told authorities his mother had given him the rosary beads to ensure a safe journey. Instead, they helped land him in the Minnehaha County Jail in Sioux Falls, where he is being held without bail as he awaits extradition to Florida.
Chiszar is accused of killing Egyed, 56, the owner of Royal Ryder bike shop in Hudson, on March 5 at the annual Bike Week motorcycle rally in Daytona Beach. Daytona police said another Pasco man _ William Russell Speanburg III, 24 _ is being sought as an accomplice in the slaying.
Police said the killing occurred during an armed robbery, and suggested it might be connected to a drug deal gone bad in Pasco. Police said the attackers visited the victim's motor home looking for Egyed's stepson, 29-year-old Randy Manescalchi, and accusing Manescalchi and Egyed of helping authorities in a federal drug investigation.
Egyed's wife, 45-year-old Connie L. Mayo, was badly beaten in the attack with a metal baseball bat and a handgun. Reached by phone Friday, she said Chiszar's arrest left her family "very relieved," but added, "There is another at large." She declined to comment further.
Manescalchi was similarly tight-lipped: "We're not supposed to talk about the case."
Chiszar was traveling in the rented van with a second man on the Sioux Falls highway just after 5 p.m. Wednesday when the trooper, assigned to drug interdiction duty, decided the picture was incongruous. Police said the two men seemed unkempt.
"Driving a brand-new van with a crucifix in it _ their outward appearance didn't match the vehicle and the Christian-type thing," South Dakota Highway Patrol Capt. Warren Anderson said. "His instincts were things weren't quite right."
Since it is illegal in Sioux City to hang objects from the rear-view mirror, the trooper had probable cause to stop the vehicle, Anderson said. Along with the Volusia County murder warrant, the trooper found an outstanding Pasco County warrant for Chiszar for violation of probation stemming from drug possession charges.
Police said the van's passenger, a Minnesota man whose name was not released, apparently had no connection to the case and was released.
_ Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.