Man charged with murder in deadly hit and run - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Man charged with murder in deadly hit and run

James Allen Whitten, Jr., photo courtesy Hernando Police Department. James Allen Whitten, Jr., photo courtesy Hernando Police Department.

(WMC-TV) - A man has been charged in connection with a fatal hit and run that occurred Thursday morning.

Police charged 55-year-old James Allen Whitten, Jr. of Hernando, Mississippi with murder.

Blue flags marked the spot in Hernando off Oak Grove Road where investigators said a passing motorist noticed a woman's body lying in a ravine.

"It was kind of dark this morning, so when the sun came up, I think he just happened to see her," said Hernando Police Chief Mike Riley.

Investigators said a woman in her mid-20's was riding her bike between 3:00 a.m. and 4:00 a.m. when she was struck by a vehicle.

"This could have been an accident, and then someone got scared and fled," said Riley.

Police began reconstructing the scene and piecing together clues to identify the woman.

"We recovered a cell phone that was dead, but it did have some pictures that were on it with her, and then we kind of back tracked to see who she was," said Riley.

Investigators said they are not releasing the name of the woman because family has not been identified.  They offered a word of caution to cyclists and runners who go out early in the morning.

"Be aware that there are people going to work who are on cell phones, texting," said Riley.  "It's early in the morning and they're not all the way awake, so be aware of where you ride."

Investigators questioned Whitten for hours before charging him in the death of the woman.

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