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December 09, 2023

Good Samaritans tackle fleeing hit-and-run driver


The driver of this pickup ran into a car and ran over a woman pumping gas at the Murphy USA station on Sept. 29.


A woman pumping gas into this Cadillac sedan (white car) was injured by an impaired pickup driver at the Murphy USA station on Sept. 29.


The injured woman was airlifted by MedCenter Air due to severe injures after she was struck by the pickup.


Bobby Gene Simmons, Jr.


(Updated Oct. 3, 5:20 p.m.)

Customers intercept hit-and-run driver,
woman recovering after being run over


On Thursday afternoon, Sept. 29, 2016, emergency personnel responded to the scene of an attempted hit-and-run crash in the Murphy USA filling station in Taylorsville on NC 16 South.

The Taylorsville Police Department is investigating the incident.

The accident involved Bobby Gene Simmons, Jr., age 54 of Lambert Fork Road, Taylorsville, who was driving a 1998 Chevrolet pickup, and Debra Hodge Hester, of Wilkesboro, who was pumping gasoline into her 2000 model Cadillac sedan, according to Taylorsville Police Chief Dennis James.

Chief James told The Times the truck was driven from the Walmart parking lot and turned left onto NC 16, then veered left across traffic, hopping a concrete curb and traffic island with shrubbery and traveling into the filling station area. Then the driver ran into the Cadillac and Hester as she was pumping gas into the car. Hester was actually struck twice, once by each of the pickup’s passenger side wheels, James added.

After striking the car and woman, the driver of the pickup crashed into a tree in a nearby median in the Walmart parking lot. He exited the truck and attempted to run away, but was promptly tackled by three people at the scene.

Chief James said he believes the Simmons was impaired with prescription drugs. Simmons is charged with driving while impaired, careless and reckless driving, assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury, driving left of center, and carrying a concealed weapon (for a large machete which was under the truck seat).

Simmons is being held in the Alexander County Detention Center under a $200,000 bond. A first court appearance is scheduled for Monday, October 3, in Alexander County District Court.

Hester was airlifted by a MedCenter Air helicopter to Carolinas Medical Center from a nearby field, located next to the CVCC-Alexander Furniture Academy. She was later found to have no internal injuries, though she did have a broken ankle and broken fingers, said Chief James.

Responding agencies included the Taylorsville Police Department, NC State Highway Patrol, Alexander County Sheriff’s Office, Taylorsville Fire Department, Alexander Rescue Squad, and Alexander County EMS.

Note: this article was updated Oct. 3 to include the injured victim’s name and condition. It was updated previously to reflect the name of the arrested suspect and details about his truck’s movements.

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