Police: Pedestrian In ICU After Being Struck By Hit-And-Run Driver

FORT SMITH (KFSM) — A suspected hit-and-run driver was caught Friday (Aug. 10) after brief pursuit by a Fort Smith police lieutenant.

Lt. Dewey Young, a 19-year veteran officer, chased and tackled Jason Clinton Gothard after Young spotted him walking near South 22nd and J streets.

Lieutenant Dewey Young

Gothard has been taken to the police department for questioning.

Police believe Gothard, 41, struck a Shawn D. Ray, III, about 8:05 a.m. in the 1400 block of Fresno Street.

Police said Ray, 62, was hit and left in the roadway with life-threatening injuries. Police said Ray is being treated at an intensive-care unit in Little Rock. He was listed Tuesday (Aug. 14) in critical condition.

Police say their investigation shows that the Gothard crossed the yellow line and hit Ray and a nearby mailbox. Damage could clearly be seen on the driver's side hood and headlight of the truck.

Investigators said Gothard didn't say much during a police interview as to how he hit Ray or why he didn't stop to help.

Gothard did have a suspended license, according to detectives.

"He has possible life threatening injures," said Anthony Rice with the Fort Smith Police Department.

"For anybody that hits somebody on the street, if you have a warrant or something like that, it's a whole lot easier to turn yourself in. Your going to face lesser charges if you go ahead and stop and check on the victim."