Tuesday, August 25, 2009

WV Tower Charged In Fatal Hit and Run

Here's the story from the Charleston Daily Mail:

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A Cross Lanes woman has been charged in the July 15 hit-and-run death of a St. Albans pedestrian whose body lay in a ditch for two days before being discovered.

Jenea Sherman, 32, of Dalewood Park is being held at South Central Regional Jail on a felony charge of failing to stop and render aid. She is charged in the death of Mary "Red" McCallister.

Kanawha County deputies say they discovered during their month-long investigation that Sherman had told a friend she believed she had hit a child, and she asked him to hide the vehicle involved - a rollback-style wrecker, according to the complaint filed in Kanawha County Magistrate Court.

Deputies found McCallister's body July 17 in a ditch along old U.S. 35 (now W.Va. 817), between 2nd and 3rd avenues - near St. Albans and close to the Kanawha-Putnam border.

Two days before that, on the evening of July 15, Metro 911 dispatchers had received a call about a child being struck by a vehicle on the same road near Miracle Acres. The caller said the striking vehicle, described as a red Chevrolet Blazer, had left the scene, according to the complaint.

Authorities dispatched to the scene found nothing that night, deputies said.

Dispatchers told deputies the 911 call had come from a woman who identified herself as Vicky Harrison, according to the complaint.

When McCallister's body was found two days later, Detective B.K. Carper attempted to contact Harrison by calling the cell phone number she had given dispatchers, the complaint said.

The phone was answered by a woman who identified herself as Jenea Bradford. She told deputies Harrison had borrowed her cell phone July 15 to call for help and she did not want to get involved, the complaint said.

Nearly a month later, deputies who were investigating contacted Jenea Sherman using the same cell phone number used to contact Vicky Harrison and Jenae Bradford, deputies said.

Deputies then discovered that Sherman owned two rollback-style wrecker trucks, the complaint said.

Carper and Detective S.D. Ferrell spoke with Sherman Wednesday and were told that one of the trucks was stored at the Tornado home of Sherman's boyfriend's father, deputies said.

The other truck was being repaired by a friend Sherman identified only as "Eugene," the complaint said. He later was identified as Kenneth Eugene Spangler, the complaint said.

When deputies contacted Spangler, he told them he knew why they were calling, according to the complaint.

He said Sherman told him she had hit a child on old U.S. 35 with the rollback wrecker and asked him to hide it, the complaint said.

Spangler led deputies to a home on Wiseman Drive near St. Albans where they located the wrecker registered to Sherman, the complaint said.

Carper and Ferrell noted the damage to the wrecker was consistent with evidence found along the roadside near McCallister's body, it said.

The wrecker was confiscated as evidence, Stover said.

Deputies said they found during their investigation that Sherman admitted to at least two other people that she was driving the vehicle when it struck someone in the area of old U.S. 35, he said.

Sherman's boyfriend was identified as Robbie Thompson, who is currently being held at South Central Regional Jail on unrelated charges, the complaint said.

Deputies said phone calls between the two were recorded and Sherman made several references to striking something or someone in her wrecker in the area of old U.S. 35 in mid-July.

Sherman's bond was set at $150,000, property only.

Several days after McCallister's body was found, her sister, Jane Cartwright, told WSAZ-TV that the family had been struggling to understand why no one stopped on the road to help McCallister, who was one of three siblings.

Cartwright pleaded for anyone involved in the hit-and-run to come forward to police.

"For someone to just hit her and knock her in the ditch and just drive off, I just don't see how anybody could leave the scene of something like that," she told the television station.

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