29-year-old Heather Smith was walking home when she was killed in a hit-and-run accident just minutes after she was released from jail.
Smith of Uhrichsville, Ohio, had just been bonded out of the nearby Stark County Jail at about 1am on Saturday when a man in a Chevy Tahoe fatally struck her and didn’t stop, police said.
Smith had been walking along U.S. Route 62 for only a few minutes after she left the jail because she didn’t have a ride home.
Police believe the man in the Tahoe was driving eastbound when it swerved onto a berm and slammed into Smith, instantly killing her.
Smith’s body was thrown about 100 feet off the road and the driver left the scene, police said.
Smith had been in jail for theft, forgery and passing bad checks.
She was arrested on Thursday after an warrant was issued for her.
Although the woman lived about 30 miles away, Smith was likely headed to her stepfather’s home nearby.
A man later came forward and told police he was driving the Tahoe when he struck the woman.
Police have not identified the man until they determine if he will be charged.
Smith’s body was found hours after the accident around 6am.
There was ‘considerable damage’ at the scene with pieces of car parts found, Rick Walters, a county coroner’s office investigator told reporters.
‘He had to know he hit her,’ Walters said.
Police estimate Smith had been walking roughly 20 minutes after leaving the jail based on the walking distance between the spot she was killed and the corrections facility.
Prosecutors will decide on Monday whether to charge the man, police said.
Smith’s death adds to a recent tragedy in her family as her mother died six weeks ago, police said.
Along with her stepfather, Smith is survived by two sisters.