WILMINGTON, NC (WBTW) — North Carolina Highway Patrol has arrested a man they say is responsible for injuring four pedestrians, including a TV station employee, on March Oaks Drive in Wilmington on October 10.
Aaron Williams, 23, of New Hanover County, was picked up on hit-and-run charges Sunday, according to Assistant District Attorney Samantha Dooies.
According to North Carolina troopers, four pedestrians were walking against traffic on the shoulder of Marsh Oaks Drive around 1:50 a.m. on October 10. One of the victims told troopers the group was walking home from Liberty Tavern when an SUV ran off the road and hit all four victims.
Highway patrol confirms the vehicle was traveling at approximately 25 to 30 mph. and after striking the victims, the driver drove the vehicle back into its lane and never stopped.
One victim, Jeffery West, age 51, is in critical condition. West, who is married and has a son, is the General Sales Manager for Myrtle Beach station WBTW, which is owned by the same company that owns WNCN-TV.
Williams had his first court appearance Monday, where it was disclosed that North Carolina Highway Patrol received a phone call over the weekend from one of Williams’ co-workers from a powerline company in Pender County. The caller explained to police that Williams admitted to hitting the pedestrians, reports the district attorney’s office.
Williams met with his work crew shortly after allegedly striking the victims and said the damage to his vehicle was from striking a deer, the co-worker told police. The colleague also told police that Williams had given his two week notice to their employer and was planning to leave the state and head to Georgia.
The district attorney’s office also revealed during Monday’s court hearing that it is believed Williams called 911 himself after hitting the pedestrians, hiding his vehicle, and returned to the scene of the crime to speak with officers as a witness.
911 operator: “New Hanover County 911, what is the address of your emergency?”
Caller: “911 I’ve witnessed a hit and run on a couple of pedestrians.”
911 Operator: “Do they need EMS?”
Caller: “No, no they uh, no I was walking back from a bar and I heard witnesses go like a green SUV hit pedestrians.”
Officials say Williams found a body shop in South Carolina that would fix his vehicle after filing a claim with his insurance company.
Three of the victims had minor injuries.
Williams’ next court date is Thursday, Nov. 12.