Police have identified the alleged driver involved in a deadly hit-and-run at a Gwinnett County gas station Monday night.
Anita Mustafi, 27, of Lawrenceville, is still at large Tuesday, according to Gwinnett police. She was recognized by a Lawrenceville police officer after investigators released surveillance images from the gas station, a BP on Pleasant Hill Road near Gwinnett Place Drive.
Mustafi is expected to face a felony hit-and-run charge in connection with the incident that killed 50-year-old Melissa Wheeler of Decatur, police said. An arrest warrant has been issued.
Officers responding to the BP about 11 p.m. Monday found Wheeler lying in the parking lot and rushed her to a local hospital, where she died.
After an investigation, police said Wheeler and Mustafi were involved in an altercation with another woman, who has not been identified, in the parking lot. It started when Mustafi walked out of the gas station and a man parked a few pumps away came over to speak with her, Gwinnett police spokesman Cpl. Wilbert Rundles said.
“A few moments later she begins to leave and has a verbal altercation with two (women) that were at the pump next to her,” Rundles said in a statement. “She stops and the (women) appear to try to open her vehicle door and start a physical altercation.”
Mustafi tried to drive away, but she was blocked in and confronted again, he said. Wheeler and the unidentified woman allegedly pulled the door to Mustafi’s gray Kia Sportage open, and things got physical.
When the Kia reversed, Rundles said Wheeler was hit and knocked down by the open door.
“She falls and is ultimately run over by the suspect vehicle,” he said. “The suspect vehicle then flees the scene.”
Another vehicle parked next to Wheeler’s and the man seen talking to Mustafi also left the scene before investigators arrived, he said. Police have not said what the women argued over.
Investigators attempted to make contact with Mustafi earlier Tuesday but she was not at home, according to police. They did locate the Kia involved in the incident, and a search for evidence was expected to be performed.
Anyone with information about her whereabouts is asked to contact Gwinnett County police detectives at 678-442-5653. Tipsters can remain anonymous, and be eligible for rewards of up to $2,000, by contacting Crime Stoppers Atlanta at 404-577-8477, texting information to 274637 or visiting the Crime Stoppers website.