• Hit-and-run suspect in court, police seeking 2nd suspect

    By: Ken Lemon


    GASTON COUNTY - A court appearance Monday provided new details about the man accused of driving away after hitting and killing a pedestrian.

    Jerry Orrell turned himself into police over the weekend, more than one week after they say he hit John King.

    Police say Orrell knew he hit someone over Easter weekend. Detectives say Orrell tried to hide his SUV and repair the damage. He turned himself in the day after King died, but investigators were already questioning Orrell’s famile members.

    “He was very remorseful for what happened,” said Sgt. KC McCabe with the Gastonia Police Department.

    Detectives say Orrell told them he knew he would be arrested, but he worried about his three children who were all with family in Florida.

    “(He) was panicked, concerned that he might not be able to see his children and had plans on turning himself in this week,” McCabe said.

    King’s family members do not believe him.

    “That’s a pretty lame excuse,” said Jeff Poole, the victim’s nephew. “Justice will be served one way or the other.”

    Orrell’s license had been revoked for failing to pay a seatbelt ticket in South Carolina. Police say Orrell never received the notice, so he was not aware.

    Police say after Orrell hit King, another driver ran over King and kept on going.

    Police are still following up on tips about that second driver, who could also face a second degree murder charge. They say the driver of the second vehicle would had to have realized that he hit someone, because King’s body was dragged a few feet after he was run over.

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