Bond increased for hit-and-run suspect as details emerge

On Thursday, investigators with the Oktibbeha County Sheriff’s Office arrested 25-year-old Haleigh Brooke Singleton of Quitman, Arkansas, charging her with one count of leaving the scene of an accident with injuries.
By: 
RYAN PHILLIPS
SDN EDITOR

More details have been made available regarding a fatal hit-and-run on Old Highway 25 South that left a Starkville man dead earlier this week.

On Thursday, investigators with the Oktibbeha County Sheriff’s Office arrested 25-year-old Haleigh Brooke Singleton of Quitman, Arkansas, charging her with one count of leaving the scene of an accident with injuries.

Lieutenant Brett Watson told the SDN Singleton was arraigned in Oktibbeha County Justice on Friday morning. After hearing the factual basis for the affidavit, the judge in the case increased Singleton’s bond to $40,000 from $25,000.

"Suffice it to say at this point in the investigation, the charges we have levied are the appropriate ones for now," Watson said. "I want to stress there are many many weeks left in this investigation."

She was still in the Oktibbeha County Jail and had not posted bond as of Friday afternoon.

While Watson identified Singleton as the driver of the vehicle, he said there was another occupant of the vehicle who initially appeared as a person of interest following the release of a surveillance video to other law enforcement agencies and local media.

No additional charges have been brought against Singleton. However, Watson said additional charges and arrests could be made once reports and evidence come back to investigators.

FATAL HIT-AND-RUN

The incident - which involved at least two vehicles and a cyclist - occurred at about 7:45 p.m. Monday night on Old Highway 25 South near the intersection at Poor House Road.

Watson said the stretch of highway was dark with no houses on the section of road where the incident occurred. He then said officers responded to a report that a cyclist had been struck.

“There was at least two vehicles that had struck the cyclist,” Watson said. “The first vehicle was still on scene and the driver of that vehicle and some folks who had stopped later were attempting to render aid to the victim of the case.”

The cyclist was pronounced dead at OCH Regional Medical Center shortly after the incident and was identified as 23-year-old D’shante Nix, of Starkville.

Watson said investigators found out quickly about the vehicle that left the scene and were able to get the description out to local law enforcement. As time went on, investigators were able to more closely identify the type of vehicle involved.

On Tuesday, Watson said investigators obtained security camera footage from a local gas station, which showed a vehicle matching the description of the one that reportedly left the scene of the accident.

SURVEILLANCE VIDEO

Watson said what is seen in the video, which shows the suspected vehicle and a man walking away from it at the gas station, is actually a small clip of the entire video obtained by investigators.

“The video you saw was the only good video of the occupant of the car we had at the time,” Watson said. “At that particular time, we had reason to believe that he was driving the car. That’s why it was pushed out to the media as it was.”

Watson then said investigators knew there was a second occupant of the vehicle and as the investigation continued, investigators discovered there was a limited number of those cars in the state of Mississippi.

“We were able to identify it with the help of several different body shops in the area,” Watson said. “We recovered parts at the scene that we believed came from the vehicle.”

The next break in the case came when a “concerned citizen” contacted law enforcement and gave a name and a potential location of the man seen in the video.

“We were in the process of attempting to locate him and locate the vehicle when we were contacted by law enforcement in the northern part of the state, who indicated he had been in contact with them,” Watson said.

The man appearing in the video then contacted investigators on the case, which led them to Olive Branch, Mississippi. From there, investigaors eventually arrested Singleton on Thursday and identified her as the driver of the vehicle.

Watson then said the indication investigators received as to why Singleton and the male occupant of the vehicle were traveling on Old Highway 25 is that they were traveling through the area and led down that particular stretch by their GPS.

Additionally, Watson said investigators believe Nix was riding his bike in the appropriate lane of traffic.

“Exactly what and how it occurred won’t be completely determined until the (accident reconstruction) is complete,” Watson said.

Watson stressed the investigation is far from over and more information will be released when it becomes available.

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