Police look for hit-and-run driver (July 9, 2014)
One week after a hit and run crash that left a young man seriously injured, the suspect responsible is now in custody, thanks to the help of an insurance adjuster.
In the early morning hours of Sunday, July 6, Conyers Police Officer Stephen Blanchette was on patrol when he discovered what was initially believed to be an abandoned vehicle on the side of Interstate 20. Officer Blanchette quickly discovered the severely injured driver approximately 30 feet in front of the vehicle The victim was transported to an Atlanta hospital by Life Flight.
With no witnesses and the victim unable to recall what or who struck him, officers were left with only pieces of the suspect's vehicle to begin their investigation. Detectives took the side mirror casing and piece of headlamp to a body shop in an effort to identify the make and model of the vehicle when it was suggested the pieces may have come from a Cadillac. The detectives then narrowed the options down to what they believed to be an off-white 2000-2005 model Cadillac DTS. The police department distributed this information via social media using the Nixle alert system, Conyers Police Facebook page and Twitter on Wednesday. News media outlets also ran this story in effort to identify the person responsible.
That evening, an insurance adjuster saw the coverage of this story and immediately contacted Conyers Police. The adjuster had processed a claim on a vehicle in Conyers matching the description which had damage consistent with the hit and run described.
Detectives reported to the address provided in the insurance claim and discovered an off-white 2002 Cadillac DTS with damages consistent with evidence left behind at the scene of the crash.
Further investigation revealed that Irving B. McMurtry Jr. filed a report with the Rockdale County Sheriff's Office just a few hours after the actual crash occurred. McMurtry claimed an unknown vehicle must have struck the Cadillac he left in the roadway in front of the home where he was staying, 3004 Iverness Court in Rockdale County.
Investigators interviewed the family at that location who advised McMurtry had traveled back home to Beaufort, South Carolina.
Conyers Police Investigators were unsuccessful in locating McMurtry in South Carolina on Friday but issued several warrants for his arrest.
Irving B. McMurtry Jr., 35, of Beaufort, SC, turned himself in to the Rockdale County jail on Sunday, one week after the crash, on charges of Duty to Stop at Accident (Hit & Run, Leave Scene), Serious Injury by Vehicle, Failure to Maintain Lane, and Reckless Driving.
Rockdale County Sheriff's Office is also securing warrants of False Statements and False Report of a Crime for the fictitious report filed with a deputy.
The victim, a 21 year old Covington man, is now out of the medically induced coma and his condition is slowly improving.
"We appreciate the outpouring of assistance from the community regarding this case." Police Chief Gene Wilson said. "The information received in response to the social media and news media coverage was instrumental in identifying the man responsible."