Darious dropped some candy while they were crossing Schoenersville Road, which is a six-lane highway in that area. He ran back to get it and was struck by a northbound vehicle thought at that time to be a silver or grey Honda. The vehicle failed to stop and fled the scene.
Colonial Regional Police, Hanover Township EMS and Fire, Bethlehem Township EMS and Fire Police from Hanover Township, Lehigh County, were dispatched to the area, where lifesaving measures were performed on Darious. He was transported to St. Luke's Hospital in Fountain Hill, where he succumbed to his injuries.
After the Friday night tragedy, the roadway was closed for four hours as Pennsylvania State Police recorded the crash scene and collected forensic evidence.
|Atkins' Mazda on October 21, from his Facebook page.|
This morning, Detective SGT Mike Melinsky received an anonymous tip implicating Royce Atkins, age 22, of the 4700 block of Kathi Drive in Hanover.Atkins had told the tipster he had hit a deer. Officers visited the residence, and while no one was at home, police did locate a vehicle in the garage. By looking through a window, they saw heavy front end damages that appeared to be consistent with the crash
In the meantime, Detective Gary Hammer located Atkins at Scott Mazda, where he is employed as a certified technician. When Detective Hammer identified himself, Atkins admitted he was the person who had hit the child before being asked a question. He cooperated with police, providing a written statement.He also pulled his vehicle out of the garage for Hammer, who noticed it was the same color as a trim piece found at the scene. It is a 2007 slate blue Mazda.
Atkins has been charged with failure to stop in an accident involving death or personal injury, a second degree felony with a mandatory minimum sentence of three years in prison and mandatory minimum fine of $2,500. He has also been charged with careless driving, a summary offense.
As Chief Seiple was announcing these charges, Atkins was being booked and is currently imprisoned on $50,000 bail, with a 10% release option.
Seiple stated there is no evidence that drugs or alcohol is involved, but their investigation is continuing and additional charges may be filed. Police are seeking a search warrant for the car's "black box," an event data recorder that may shed more light on what happened.
Families of both the defendant and the victim are well respected in Hanover Township. "It is a tragedy for both their families," observed Township Manager Jay Finnigan. The victim's and defendant's homes are just 2.8 miles apart.
Noting that these are "trying circumstances," Colonial Regional Police Commission Chair Glenn Walbert said it is "gratifying to see such professionalism by our police department."
A GoFundMe page for Darious' funeral expenses has collected $10,230 in just two days.
(Story originally published at 7:12 pm).