A woman who faces a murder charge after intervening in a hit-and-run crash in Clayton County earlier this month is accused of not obeying a 911 operator’s instructions to disengage.
Hannah Payne, 21, of Fayetteville, decided to follow a pickup truck after she saw it hit a tractor-trailer near Clark Howell Highway and Ga. 85 on May 7, Clayton County police previously said. Before following the vehicle for about a mile, she called 911.
However, she allegedly did not listen to the dispatcher, who told her to remain at the initial scene and not follow the pickup truck, prosecutors said in court Tuesday, Channel 2 Action News reported.
Payne eventually blocked the pickup truck with her Jeep at the intersection of Riverdale Road and Forest Parkway, police said. Detective Keon Hayward said she got out of her vehicle to confront the pickup’s driver, 62-year-old Kenneth Herring, despite the 911 operator’s objections.
“In the background, you can hear (Payne say), ‘Get out of the car. Get out of the car,’” Hayward said in court, according to Channel 2.
A delivery driver, who asked the news station to remain anonymous, said he saw Payne attack Herring before hearing a gunshot.
“She was in the window punching him and trying to grab him and pull him out of the car,” the witness said. “And I see her holding a gun and stuff. I was shocked.”
Payne’s attorney, Matt Tucker, previously said that she was provoked to further action when Herring’s truck hit her Jeep, but police said the two vehicles did not collide at any point during the incident.
After the shooting, the witness recorded video that appears to show Payne changing clothes before police arrived. Tucker previously argued that the gunshot was in self-defense after Herring bruised her and ripped her shirt.
District Attorney Tracy Graham Lawson called Payne the aggressor in court, describing her as someone who thought she was a police officer during the incident, Channel 2 reported.
“(Payne saying), ‘Get out of the car. Get out of the car,’ sounded like a cops show on TV,” Lawson said.
Zachary Hansen, a Georgia native, covers economic development and commercial real estate for the AJC. He's been with the newspaper since 2018 and enjoys diving into complex stories that affect people's lives.