An anonymous tip led to the arrest of a Covington hit-and-run suspect accused of striking two women earlier this month, killing one of them.
Oliver Alonzo Shepherd, 55, has been in jail for nearly two weeks on a probation violation. But a tip to police helped investigators link Shepherd to the Oct. 7 hit-and-run that killed 39-year-old Amy Barron.
Barron stopped to help 36-year-old Masika Robinson out of the road near West and Cannon streets shortly before 9:45 p.m. when a brown van came over a hill and stuck them both, police said.
“(Barron) saw the van coming and stepped out to help her,” Covington police spokesman Officer Justin Stott said. “She ended up taking the direct hit.”
Shepherd allegedly sped off after striking the women, leaving Barron lying in the street with critical injuries. She died two days later.
According to her obituary, the young grandmother loved baking cheesecake and regularly volunteered at local women's shelters.
Robinson suffered minor injuries in the wreck and was released from Piedmont Newton Hospital that evening, authorities said.
During their investigation, police received a tip that Shepherd was the driver of the van, Capt. Ken Malcom said during a news conference Tuesday. The vehicle was later discovered parked at the Covington Walmart with extensive front-end damage, he said.
After initially denying that he was behind the wheel at the time of the hit-and-run, Shepherd admitted to running over the women Tuesday after he was confronted with the evidence, police said.
Malcom said there was a large dent in the hood of the van, but Shepherd couldn’t tell detectives how it happened or how long it had been there. There was also surveillance footage of the man driving the van to a local liquor store just before the crash, though Shepherd told police he wasn’t in Covington that night.
“We do believe he was under the influence of alcohol when this occurred,” Malcom said Tuesday. “That may have been a contributing factor and why he did not remain on scene that night.”
Barron’s family told Channel 2 Action News they are grateful an arrest was made in the case, thanking the tipster who led police to Shepherd.
“I feel very relieved that he’s not on the streets,” said Barron’s daughter, Ashley Reisner. “I’m still angry to know that the reason he ran — I watched the (confession) video — was because he violated his parole and he was intoxicated.”
Barron’s family said her death was not in vain because her donated organs helped save the lives of four other people. Reisner also donated all of her mother’s clothes to a women’s shelter in Conyers, Channel 2 reported.
Shepherd is charged with vehicular homicide and leaving the scene of an accident with injuries. He is being held without bond at the Newton County jail, records show.