Suspect Who Killed Homeless Man In Hit-And-Run To Start Jail Sentence

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A Fayetteville man accused of driving off after hitting a homeless man who later died was scheduled to begin his jail sentence Wednesday in Washington County.

Maurice Deshaun Evans was sentenced Oct. 3 to four months in the Washington County Detention Center and five years of probation after pleading guilty to a felony charge of failure to stop after an accident with injury or death. He also pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor charges of not having vehicular insurance in an accident and driving with a cancelled license, according to court records.

Evans, 22, was arrested July 3 after investigators spent two days trying to find him in connection with a hit-and-run in which the victim, Gary Todd O’Neal, was hospitalized. Evans was released from the Washington County Detention Center on July 6 on $10,000 bond, according to the Washington County Sheriff’s Office.

O’Neal died July 12 at Mercy Hospital in Springfield, Mo., according to a family member. O’Neal was taken by helicopter to the hospital July 1 after being struck by a car police say was driven by Evans.

O’Neal sustained brain and spinal injuries in the incident, according to police.

O’Neal may be from Oklahoma but had spent time in Missouri and Arkansas, said Sgt. Craig Stout of the Fayetteville Police Department. Authorities said the man was homeless.

Police received a tip the day after the crash about a vehicle matching the description the department had sent out on the car. Officers responded to the location on West End Avenue and noticed damage to the front of the car, according to a preliminary report from the Washington County Detention Center. Investigators said they determined the Ford Taurus was registered to Evans.

Evans consented a search of his vehicle and gave the police an alibi for the time of the incident. Detectives were able to disprove the alibi and arrested Evans a day later, according to a preliminary report.

“Evans said he didn’t stop because he knew he would go to jail for killing a man,” said the reporting officer.

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