Police say hit-and-run suspect tried to repaint truck

Officers say suspect tried to alter vehicle

 

Police say the man arrested in a fatal hit-and-run of a bicyclist tried to repaint his vehicle before his arrest late Wednesday.

Richmond County sheriff’s investigators spent most of Thursday afternoon going over the Dodge Ram pickup they suspect was involved in the hit-and-run about 6:30 a.m. Wednes­day in the 3500 block of Mike Padg­ett Highway.

Crime scene Investigator Tom John­son examined the truck, which sat in a garage bay at the sheriff’s office, for evidence of blood, hair and clothing fibers that might link it to the crime.

It was evident the truck had been involved in a wreck. The right-side headlight was crushed, the fender was crumpled, the mirror was missing and the right ride of the windshield was smashed.

It also appeared that the truck was in the midst of a paint job. The hood and portions of the cab had been repainted flat black, and the grille had been removed.

“There was an attempt made to alter the appearance of the vehicle,” sheriff’s Lt. Calvin Chew said.

Police said the alteration work was done by the truck’s owner, Christopher Provost, who was arrested Wednesday night at his home on Citation Road in Hephzibah. Provost is charged with two felonies – vehicular homicide and leaving the scene of an accident – in the death of Den­nis Skillman, 42, of Old Waynesboro Road.

Investigators suspect Provost was at the wheel of the Dodge when it veered off the northbound side of the highway and hit Skillman, who was riding a bicycle, Chew said.

Skill­man died at the scene, and deputies spent most of the day tracking down tips on a Dodge truck with front-end damage and missing right-side mirror.

“Once we put out a description on the truck, we started to receive a lot of tips,” Chew said.

It wasn’t long before an accumulation of tips and evidence led police to Provost and his silver-and-red truck, he said.

Chew said deputies didn’t find Pro­vost in their first visit to his home because they suspect he was hiding in a building out back where he had tools for paint and body work.

Chew said deputies found Provost in his shop late Wednesday when they returned with a search warrant.

Provost was being held Thursday at the Richmond County jail without bond. His initial appearance was set for this morning at the Augusta Judicial Center, court officials said.

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