Warrants issued for man in deadly Catawba County hit-and-run

CATAWBA COUNTY, NC (WBTV) - Police say a man accused of fatally striking a pedestrian in Catawba County will turn himself in and be charged Thursday after warrants were issued for his arrest.

The incident happened around 5:34 a.m. on Highway 70.

Long View Police said Michael Ryan Cooke will turn himself in and be charged with felony hit and run causing severe injury or death.

A detective says he told them he fled because he "just panicked."

Long View Police described the vehicle involved in the hit-and-run as an older model, dark-colored Chevrolet pick-up truck.

Just after 3 p.m. Wednesday, investigators reported they had located the vehicle.

Even though it was dark and raining at the time, damage to the suspect vehicle indicated the driver had to know what happened and should have stopped.

Detectives said all the broken vehicle parts found at the scene on Highway 70 matched up with damage on the truck they believe Cooke was driving when the pedestrian was hit and killed

"The driver did not stop, slow down, or do anything," Pitts said. "Surveillance video from a car lot across from where the accident happened has provided a lot of details."

The video also showed a white big rig without a trailer passing by just a few seconds after the pedestrian was killed. Police want to speak with that driver.

Several lanes on Highway 70 were blocked due to the incident.

The victim's identity has not been released.

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