HICKORY, N.C. — Troopers are investigating a fatal hit and run collision in Catawba County after an impaired driver killed a pedestrian in the roadway Thursday night.

Troopers responded to the collision on NC Highway 127 near Zion Church Road around 10:30 p.m.

Detectives say initial investigation reveals a 2008 Ford F150 ran out of fuel and became disabled in the center turning lane near US Highway 321.

The driver then left his car and was walking in the travel lanes when he was struck by a southbound passenger vehicle, according to a news release.

Troopers say the car fled the scene and continued traveling south on NC Highway 127.

The pedestrian, identified as 56-year-old Tony Allen Maltba of Creston, died at the scene due to his injuries, according to a news release.

Detectives say the suspect car, a 2002 Saturn, was found two hours later behind a home several miles away.

Troopers have since seized the Saturn as evidence and say the suspect, 31-year-old Robert Mitchell Lester of Hickory, was also found several hours later.

Lester has been charged with driving while impaired, according to a news release.

Police say further charges are pending as the investigation is ongoing and active.



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