Social media helps Indian Trail business owner identify suspected hit-and-run driver

INDIAN TRAIL, NC (WBTV) - Business owner Ritch McManus said he knew to post about what happened to his store as soon as he saw footage of the incident.

McManus owns the Re-Appliance store off Highway 74 in Indian Trail. He discovered early Monday morning that someone had driven a vehicle into one of the brick support columns in front of his building.

"I saw the damage, all the caution tape and was initially stunned that something happened," said McManus.

He said he reviewed the video captured by his surveillance cameras to figure out what happened. He posted still images from the video on Facebook with the hope that someone would be able to identify the car or the driver.

The video shows that the suspect's vehicle was in front of the store Sunday afternoon. McManus said the driver left the store and returned a couple times before ultimately running into the column. The video shows the driver immediately put the vehicle in reverse after the collision and drive away from the store.

"I hope it woke him up prior to getting out on the streets and driving to where he went," said McManus.

Just hours after posting pictures in a public Facebook group Monday, McManus said he got messages from someone who was able to identify the driver. He said the suspected driver and the driver's father came by the store Monday afternoon so the man who was driving could confess to the crime.

Trooper Ray Pierce with the North Carolina State Highway Patrol said Jonathan Kenneth Hucks of Monroe was charged with hit-and-run and unsafe movement in connection with the incident.

Pierce said that because the collision happened Sunday night and Hucks was charged Monday afternoon, troopers are not be able to prove whether or not Hucks was impaired at the time of the crash.

McManus hopes drivers will see this situation as a cautionary tale and surrender their keys if they aren't able to drive.

"If you're questioning whether or not you should drive or not, don't do it. Uber is out there. Taxis are out there. Friends are out there. Pick up the phone instead of picking up the keys," warned the business owner.

McManus said 'the best money he ever spent' was on the surveillance cameras and he credits social media with helping him identify the hit-and-run driver so quickly.

"We had him identified within a couple of hours as opposed to him being able to hide from what he did and not being able to be held responsible for his crime," said McManus.

He said that Hucks' father reported the incident to his insurance company. He thinks the repairs may cost thousands of dollars.

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