A Colbert man is being held in the Madison County Jail after allegedly striking and killing a pedestrian on Hwy. 29 Sunday night while driving drunk, then fleeing the scene.
Jerry Lean Thomas, 47, faces a slew charges, including vehicular homicide and hit and run resulting in serious injury or death after investigators linked damage to his minivan to the body of a man found dead off the roadside.
A passing motorist spotted the body of Morris Rawlings, 52, of Archer Road, off Hwy. 29 near Glenn Carrie Road and Fortson Store Road early Monday morning.
Thomas was already in the Madison County Jail at that point. According to Madison County chief deputy Shawn Burns, an accident with a vehicle in a ditch was reported on Spratlin Mill Road around 10:30 p.m. Sunday. Thomas was then pulled over farther down Spratlin Mill Road by the Madison County Sheriff's Office and arrested for driving under the influence, weaving over the roadway, driving while license suspended or revoked, possession of open alcohol container and driving while declared as a habitual violator.
Burns said the officer questioned Thomas about significant damage to the front right of his vehicle. And Thomas said he didn’t know how the damage happened.
When the officer learned of the body found on Hwy. 29, he notified Burns of the damage to Thomas’ vehicle. The Georgia State Patrol and Georgia Bureau of Investigation examined Thomas’ minivan Monday.
“They obtained evidence that linked the victim with the suspect’s vehicle,” said Burns.
Burns said Rollins was walking the highway to a job in Athens when he was struck.