HERNANDO, MS (abc24.com) - Hernando Police have charged a man with a hit and run accident that killed a woman riding her bike. 55-year-old James Allen Whitten has been charged with Murder.
Cops say he hit a woman riding her bicycle early Thursday morning, December 22nd, then took off.
The woman is in her mid-20s and was found dead on the side of Oak Grove Road early Thursday morning. Police have identified her, but haven't released her name or much else about the man accused of running her over. They think the woman was riding her bike around three or four o'clock in morning, when she was hit.
"We want to find out as much as can about the hours before she was hit," said Police Chief Mike Riley.
A few blue flags mark the spot on the two lane road where the cyclist was killed.
"No one called to turn it in until someone just found her," said Mayor Chip Johnson.
According to police, a passerby discovered the body around 7:30 in the morning. The woman was lying in some grass right off the pavement. Her bicycle was just a few feet away.
"Someone saw bike on the side of road and backed up to look and realized a person was there too," Johnson told abc24.com.
Investigators believe she'd been dead for a few hours.
A few people came forward with tips Thursday, and a few hours later police led Whitten in handcuffs into the department for questioning.
Cops describe the victim as a white female in her mid-20s with red hair. They say she wasn't wearing a rain jacket. They were able to identify her from a cell phone found near the body.
"Pictures of her that we backtracked to find out who she is," Riley told abc24.com.
He says she's not from Hernando, and that her family lives in Memphis.
Whether this was a random hit and run, or something more, Riley has a message for other cyclists.
"Be aware of where you go to ride," he says.
Police are waiting to release the victim's name until they've notified the family. The woman's body was taken to the coroner this morning. Police are still waiting on that report to release an official cause of death.