Woman Accused of Killing Man Who Tried to Flee Crash Scene

ATLANTA—A Georgia woman is accused of fatally shooting a man who tried to leave the scene of a crash near Highway 85.

News outlets report 21-year-old Hannah Payne’s lawyer argued in court on Wednesday, May 8, that the shooting was in self-defense.

“It just seems like an unfortunate situation of a good Samaritan trying to stop a person on a hit-and-run,” attorney Matt Tucker said.

Payne’s charged with murder without malice in the Tuesday death of 62-year-old Kenneth Herring.

Clayton County police testified that Payne witnessed a wreck between driver Herring and another car.

They say Herring tried to leave the scene, so Payne followed him and blocked his path with her car.

They say an altercation between the two ended with Herring being shot in the stomach.

“The victim’s wife says she never should have tried to take matters into her own hands,” WSBTV reported.

Maj. Anthony Thuman says the hit-and-run didn’t cause extensive damage. He says Payne is licensed to carry a gun.

She’s being held at the county jail without bond.

Hit-and-Run Deaths at Record High

Hit-and-run incidents have been on the rise since 2010, according to a 2018 report published by the American Automobile Association.

The report analyzes car crash data from 2006 to 2016.

The AAA notes that the 2,049 fatalities that resulted from hit-and-run crashes in 2016 were the highest number ever recorded. This is a 60 percent increase since 2009.

“Hit-and-run crashes in the United States are trending in the wrong direction,” said Dr. David Yang, executive director of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, according to an AAA news release. “Our analysis shows that hit-and-run crashes are a growing traffic safety challenge and the AAA Foundation would like to work with all stakeholders to help curtail this problem.”

Most victims of hit-and-run crashes resulting in death are pedestrians or bicyclists, according to the AAA.

The Association notes also that over the past 10 years, nearly 20 percent of all pedestrian deaths were caused by hit-and-run crashes.

“It is every driver’s legal and moral responsibility to take necessary precautions to avoid hitting a pedestrian, bicyclist, or another vehicle,” said Jennifer Ryan, director of state relations for AAA. “While no one likes being involved in a crash, leaving the scene will significantly increase the penalties for drivers- whether they caused the crash or not.”

It is illegal in every state for a driver involved in a crash to flee the scene.

Penalties include large fines, loss of license, or prison sentences.

Epoch Times reporter Tom Ozimek contributed to this article.