Man arrested for deadly hit-and-run was wanted for similar crime

Posted at 5:49 PM, Apr 06, 2016

PETERSBURG, Va  -- Officials said a man arrested for a recent fatal hit-and-run in Petersbug in March was wanted for a similar crime earlier this year.

In fact, Kermit Nathaniel Johnson had been considered a fugitive wanted by Petersburg Police for a January hit-and-run accident along with a failure to appear on a DUI charge.

Johnson was picked up by officers Tuesday after he was being charged with second-degree murder.

Kermit Nathaniel Johnson

Kermit Nathaniel Johnson

Police said the 59-year-old was involved in another hit-and-run accident on March 31.

The victim, Ross Epps Jr. died a short time after being hit in the 1600 block of Youngs Road.

Police found evidence at the scene, including glass and a vehicle part which let them determine the vehicle involved was a Chevrolet van.

Yolanda Diggs, who lives near where Epps was hit, had walked outside when she saw a car stopped on Young's Road.

"They said somebody was lying in the yard, so they told me could I call 911," Diggs said the driver yelled to her.

After making the call, Diggs walked up to the man and realized it was a family friend, Ross Epps.

"I've been knowing him for years and he was a good person," she said.

Ross Epps Jr.

Ross Epps Jr.

Folks living nearby are still coming to grips with the tragedy.

"I can't understand why nobody would, you know, ride by and hit him and leave him like that, because he was a nice gentlemen," said Doris Crawler, who worked with Epps for several years.

Petersburg Police says it was a Crime Solvers Text-A-Tip that lead to Johnson's arrest.

"We were able to have a dialog with the texter because they were sending us information, we could talk back to them but the whole exchange is completely anonymous," Petersburg Police Spokesperson Esther Hyatt said.

Johnson, who is being held without bond at Riverside Regional Jail, is scheduled to appear in court Thursday.



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