Warren accepts plea in pedestrian fatality
A Thomasville man charged in the motor vehicle death of a Chair City pedestrian pleaded no contest to a lesser charge.
According to Jo Black with the Davidson County Clerk of Courts Officer, Ronald W. Warren, 21, of 175 Alberta Drive on Thursday pleaded no contest to misdemeanor death by a motor vehicle for his role in a traffic fatality that claimed the life of 50-year-old Gussie Pearson. Warren received a 60-day suspended sentence and ordered to pay $10,000 in restitution to the victim's family.
"He also must abide by all the conditions of standard probation," Black said. "Should he not meet these conditions, it would be considered a violation of his probation."
Pearson, of Fairway Avenue, died on Jan. 4 after being struck by a vehicle while crossing National Highway near Tommy's Bar-B-Cue. Warren, who was traveling south on National Highway in a Chevrolet pickup truck, returned to the scene a short time later and told Thomasville police he thought he hit something and went home. Warren's mother told him to go back, where he admitted to hitting Pearson, who was found unresponsive in the road at approximately 5:51 p.m.
Thomasville Police Department on Jan. 10 charged Warren with felony hit and run resulting in serious injury/ death.
"What was evident was he struck a person, which is a crash on a roadway, and left the scene," Sgt. John Elgin said following Warren's arrest. "He didn't stay at the scene to render any type of aid or wait for law enforcement to arrive to conduct their investigation. The law states a person shall remain at the scene of an accident unless there's an emergency, they can't pull over or get to a phone. The suspect had a cell phone and there's was adequate parking where he could have pulled over. Why he left, we don't know. He went home."
Davidson County District Attorney Garry Frank said Warren leaving the scene of the accident played a key role in the charges.
"[Warren] was a relatively young guy," Frank said. "Had he not left [the scene] he probably wouldn't have been charged with anything. He apparently just panicked."
As part of his sentence, Warren was placed on supervised probation for 36 months and must pay $1,299.50 in court costs. Warren has to surrender his driver's license and attend driving school, have a substance abuse assessment within the next 60 days and perform 250 hours of community service.
"We talked with the victim's family extensively," said Frank. "Under the circumstances, [Warren] has to pay a big chunk of restitution, he has a lot of community service and he has to surrender his driver's license. We felt like that was an appropriate disposition of the case. We believe if he would have just stayed [at the scene] he would be facing no charges."
Staff Writer Eliot Duke can be reached at 888-3578, or firstname.lastname@example.org.