Evans County sheriff’s investigators have charged a second suspect in a fatal hit-and-run incident involving a car theft ring on Jan. 5.
Kristopher Strickland, 17, of Boxwood Drive in Ellabell, is charged with entering auto and theft by taking motor vehicle, said Evans County Chief Deputy Virgil Deloach.
Strickland is one of three suspects in the theft of five cars reported stolen around the time of the fatal hit-and-run incident in the early morning of Jan. 5.
A third suspect, Arkale Williams, 17, of Daisy-Nevils Highway, was killed when he reportedly abandoned a stolen car he was driving that morning and was struck by another car. Strickland is suspected of being the driver who struck him, but the hit-and-run portion of the case is still being investigated, Deloach said.
Trevon Shemar Dukes, 17, of Miller Circle in Hagan, is also charged with entering auto and motor vehicle theft, he said.
The convoluted investigation into the vehicle thefts and subsequent hit-and-run involves at least four different law enforcement agencies: the Hagan Police Department (three of the vehicles were stolen in Hagan), the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, the Evans County Sheriff’s Office and Georgia State Patrol Post 45.
Hagan police Chief Dale Kirkland was notified of an auto theft suspect on Firetower Road around 6 a.m. Jan. 5 and started pursuing the driver, later identified as Dukes. The suspect abandoned the car during the chase and fled on foot. Kirkland was unaware at the time that there were two other drivers in stolen cars ahead of Dukes, he said. Dukes was later apprehended and arrested.
Williams was reportedly driving one of the other stolen cars and abandoned it as well, trying to flee on foot, when he was struck by another car, possibly driven by Strickland. However, Strickland had not been charged with hit-and-run Tuesday, and Deloach said that part of the investigation remains ongoing.
In addition to the three cars stolen from Hagan, there were two other cars stolen beforehand, believed to have been taken by the three suspects.
According to earlier reports by Evans County Sheriff Randall Tippins, the group allegedly stole a car in Effingham County and crashed it in Claxton. Then, after stealing the three vehicles from different individuals in Hagan, and after the hit-and-run and subsequent crash, one suspect stole a fifth car that was later recovered, he said.
All five of the stolen cars had keys left inside, he said.
Further charges are possible as the investigation continues.
Herald reporter Holli Deal Saxon may be reached at (912) 489-9414.