COVINGTON — A 55-year-old man with a previous criminal record has been arrested and charged in connection with the hit-and-run death of a Social Circle woman.
Covington Police Capt. Ken Malcom told members of the media Tuesday morning that Oliver Alonzo Shepherd of 9115 S. Sterling Lakes Drive, faces charges of vehicular homicide and leaving the scene of an accident in connection with the Oct. 7 incident that left 39-year-old Amy Barron dead and a 36-year-old Covington woman injured.
Malcom said police believe alcohol was a contributing factor in the incident as Shepherd was captured on video leaving a Washington Street liquor store shortly before the two women were struck on nearby West Street at about 9:45 that night.
According to the Georgia Department of Corrections, Shepherd has been convicted on charges of burglary and robbery. He has served two stints in state prison, from 1993 to 1996 and from 2011 to 2014. At the time of his arrest, Malcom said Shepherd was wanted for a probation violation.
Malcom said police first linked Shepherd to the hit-and-run on Oct. 9 after Detective Jeff Bruno received a tip. Malcom said Shepherd was brought in and questioned, but he denied being on West Street the night of the incident. Witnesses had described the vehicle that struck the victims as a large gold or brown van. Shepherd told police he had loaned his van to an unknown person that night and had no knowledge of the incident.
Police later located Shepherd’s Chevy van in the Walmart parking lot. Malcom said the vehicle had front-end damage, and it was taken into custody as evidence.
Shepherd was arrested at his nephew’s house on Westview Drive.
Malcom said police continued to gather evidence in the case, talking with witnesses and collecting the liquor store video of Shepherd driving his van shortly before the incident. Malcom said one of the witnesses questioned picked up Shepherd at Walmart when he abandoned his van there. On Monday, police again questioned Shepherd, which led to a confession.
“This was largely a circumstantial case until Monday when he confessed,” said Malcom.
Malcom said Barron, the woman killed in the hit-and-run, is being credited with saving the other victim’s life. Malcom said witnesses reported that when Shepherd’s van topped a hill on West Street, “it didn’t appear that the van was going to stop. When that happened, Ms. Barron stepped into the street to try to help (the other victim), and that’s when both were struck.”
The injured woman was taken to Piedmont Newton Hospital where she was treated and released.