Police arrest Gastonia driver after pedestrian hit-and-run

by: Ken Lemon Updated:

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GASTONIA, N.C. - A man is in the hospital after police said a driver in a SUV hit him as he crossed the street then drove off.

Tyler Williams was walking with his girlfriend Thursday morning on Hudson Boulevard in Gastonia when the crash happened.

His girlfriend, Litrease Holt, begged the driver who hit her boyfriend this morning to turn him or herself in.

Police said Thursday afternoon they arrested Christopher A.W. Stephenson, 26, of Gastonia, in connection with the hit-and-run.

Holt and Williams were out walking. About 5 a.m., they started to cross Hudson Boulevard heading to their home.

She said she crossed the four lane road first and stopped in the median.

"I heard a huge cracking sound. I turned around and he was on the hood of the car. I saw him flip over the hood," Holt said.

Holt said she chased after the SUV, but she couldn't see the license tag. She said she came back and tried to talk to her boyfriend, but he was not responsive and she feared the worst.

Williams' family said he has a fractured vertebrate in his neck.

Police said the driver must have realized something bad happened.

"The parts we found, it only leads to believe there is heavy front-end damage and they had to know that they hit something," said officer J.R. Smith with Gastonia Police Department.

Pieces of the mirror and front bumper were left at the scene. Officers matched the paint samples and determined it was a dark gray Toyota SUV.

Police said Stephenson was charged with felony hit-and-run resulting in injury.