An Augusta man pleaded guilty Friday to vehicular homicide charges in the deaths of two people.
Derrick L. Thompkins, 26, entered his guilty pleas in Richmond County Superior Court, accepting a plea negotiation for a 15-year prison term.
Because of Thompkins’ prior felony convictions, he will serve the sentence without parole.
On Nov. 1, Jerry Mims, 58, and Tonya D. Lane, 54, were returning home from a convenience store when they were struck by a vehicle while walking on White Road, Assistant District Attorney John Markwalter said.
A man who lives near the incident scene told investigators he heard a car pass on the road and almost immediately heard a loud boom, Markwalter said. He couldn’t see anything in the dark but believing there was some sort of crash he called 911.
Mims and Lane were discovered but the driver of the vehicle fled the scene.
Debris left behind enabled investigators to determine the vehicle type. A tip led detectives to Thompkins’ girlfriend who had recently bought a car that he used. Glass found on White Road was a match to the girlfriend’s car and Lane’s DNA was found on the vehicle, Markwalter said.
It was an accident, not a deliberate homicide, defense attorney Maureen Floyd told the judge. Thompkins just panicked and ran. He asked Floyd to apologize to the victims on his behalf.
Judge Daniel J. Craig accepted the plea negotiation and sentenced Thompkins.