Man, 62, is arrested in fatal hit-and-run

RCSO
Bragg Jr.

A 62-year-old man was arrested Wednesday and charged with being drunk when his pickup struck two women as they walked on a road near Hephzibah, killing one and injuring the other.

Willie David Bragg Jr., faces two counts of felony hit-and-run, one count of first degree homicide by vehicle and one count of failure to maintain lane, and driving under the influence, Richmond County sheriff's Cpl. Danny Whitehead said.

Mr. Bragg has a record of DUI arrests, including one last year, Cpl. Whitehead said. He has a residence on the 900 block of Horseshoe Road, which is around the corner from where the accident took place.

He was in the process of moving to a new residence in Sylvania, Cpl. Whitehead said. He was arrested in Screven County on Wednesday afternoon.

Police had been searching for the driver of a white pickup that struck two women as they walked Tuesday night on Bennock Mill Road in south Richmond County.

Shannon Nicole Mathis, 25, was killed and sister Diane Meyer was hospitalized.

Their sister, Kimberly Meyer, 19, said today the tragedy had yet to sink in.

"I still don't even believe she's dead," said Ms. Meyer, who ran to the scene late Tuesday night after hearing of the accident. "It's like she's still in the house with the kids."

Ms. Meyer said Ms. Mathis and another of her sisters, 22-year-old Diane, had gone for a short walk.

At 9:15 p.m., they were walking in the northbound lane of Bennock Mill Road near its intersection with Horseshoe Road when a man in a white pickup hit them from behind, according to Richmond County sheriff's Maj. Richard Weaver.

The victims were taken to Medical College of Georgia Hospital for treatment.

Chief Deputy Coroner Mark Bowen said Ms. Mathis died at 9:58 p.m. Diane Meyer suffered a compound fracture in her left leg, Maj. Weaver said.

Family members described Ms. Mathis as a loving mother of two girls and one boy who enjoyed her evening walks with her sisters.

She was in town visiting from Mississippi.

"We all loved her very much," said Jessica Meyer, the victim's 15-year-old sister.

Family members said they are challenged to pay for burial expenses and are working with Wachovia Bank to set up a fund for donations.