Wilmington Police Address Recent Surge in Hit-and-Run Incidents

Hit and Run

The courtroom held its breath as Emily Hayes, the woman charged in a fatal hit-and-run, made her debut appearance on Tuesday, September 19.

Behind bars with a $300,000 bond, Hayes faced a prosecutorial push to elevate her bail to a staggering $1 million. Prosecutors argued that $300,000 was an inadequate sum to account for the life that had been tragically extinguished.

“One glance at her prior record tells a story of impending tragedy, and tragically, it unfolded,” voiced a determined prosecutor.

Hayes stands accused of colliding with and fatally wounding 61-year-old Michael Bernard near the crossroads of Carolina Beach Road and Sunnyvale Drive in the early hours of Saturday, September 16.

This sobering incident was but one thread in the fabric of 119 hit-and-runs that have afflicted Wilmington since the dawn of 2023. Among these somber statistics, two stand as harbingers of irreplaceable loss, including the ill-fated event near Carolina Beach Rd. and Sunnyvale Dr.

“We find ourselves grappling with a rising tide of hit-and-run cases,” shared Lt. Greg Willet of the Wilmington Police Department.

Lt. Willet attributed this surge to the region’s burgeoning growth, obscurely lit roadways, and a prevailing disregard for traffic codes among both pedestrians and motorists.

“For those who must walk the streets, a legal right indeed, we advise a simple rule: march against the flow of traffic and keep a respectful distance from the thoroughfare,” cautioned Lt. Greg Willet.

He underscored that while pedestrians may bear some culpability, fleeing the scene should never cross a driver’s mind. Even if a pedestrian is at fault, they may face legal repercussions.

“Even in the most righteous of driving situations, adhering to every rule in the book, if an accident occurs, the last recourse should never be escape; such actions must be avoided at all costs.”

In conclusion, the WPD’s message resounded clear: pedestrians ought to steer clear of the road, while drivers must heighten their attentiveness, especially during the nocturnal hours.

Hayes’ impending court rendezvous is set for October 5 at 9:30 a.m. Prosecutors have hinted at the possibility of second-degree murder charges looming on the horizon.

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