Mario De Paz Hurtarte
Photo: Gwinnett County Sheriff's Office
Photo: Gwinnett County Sheriff's Office

Gwinnett Walmart employee accused of running over, killing customer outside store

A Gwinnett County Walmart employee is behind bars after allegedly running over a 65-year-old customer outside the store and then leaving the scene, police said.

The fatal collision occurred about 7:30 a.m. Oct. 27 outside the store on Sardis Church Road in unincorporated Buford, police said Thursday. The victim, identified as Lawrenceville resident Geffrey Frankovich, died at a hospital Tuesday.

Authorities said Frankovich was in the crosswalk in front of the store when he was hit by a silver Nissan Versa driven by 20-year-old Mario De Paz Hurtarte.

Hurtarte then sped away, police said, but he was involved in another hit-and-run near the intersection of Sardis Church and Hamilton Mill roads. 

Employees at the Walmart told officers that Hurtarte worked at the store and that he was driving at least 30 mph through the parking lot when he struck Frankovich, according to the police report.

Hurtarte told officers he was on his way home from work and was unable to stop when the man stepped out in front of his car. He also told police he “continued driving to go look for help,” but decided to return to the scene after the second wreck, according to the report.

He was arrested and charged with reckless driving, hit-and-run resulting in serious injury or death, improper class of license and failure to obey a traffic control device, but police said additional charges are possible. 

Hurtarte remains held at the Gwinnett County Jail on an $8,548 bond, records show. 

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