Tipster, suspect share last name - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Blair Simmons

Tipster, suspect share last name

A Mid-South community grieves for the fair-haired, blue-eyed teenager buried Sunday afternoon.

Dillan Cole was riding his bicycle with a friend Thursday when the driver of a van ran into him and kept on going.

"Dillan was only 14-years-old. and what if that was your son or daughter? Wouldn't you want someone to stop," says family friend DeDe Jones.

The man accused of killing Dillan Cole has eight children of his own. William Yarbrough is in police custody facing felony charges for Cole's death.

Investigators with Tennessee's Highway Patrol say Yarbrough left the scene of that Tipton County hit and run, then drove for hours until he hit North Carolina where an anonymous tip lead to his arrest.

Police now say the tipster who turned in Yarbrough shares the suspect's last name.

The anonymous caller was actually Yarbrough's wife, Linda. Linda would not talk on camera but agreed to a phone interview. 

She says it was an accident and her husband would never hurt a child.  She wants people to realize her family is hurting too.

Linda Yarbrough and her husband William have raised eight children together. She says he would never intentionally hurt anyone, especially a child. 

Linda says she'd heard about the hit-and-run. But never suspected her husband.

"He said to me honey, I hit something, it's a blur, I think I hit a deer.  He laid on the bed crying, he said we'll find out in the morning what I hit. I know he was upset," said Linda.

She says she knew something was wrong Friday morning. William was pacing in the kitchen and wouldn't tell her what was wrong.

"He got up, turned on the news. I know he was upset. He wouldn't tell me anything. Didn't send the kids to school. When I got up at 8:00, he's pacing, said honey, I gotta go. I gotta protect you and my family.  I gotta go.  I said what' you talking about. He said I can't tell you just need to leave.  And he got in my van and left," Linda explained.

But a quick look at Yarbrough's record, shows that it's not squeaky clean.  

He's had three prior DUI's, and when he allegedly hit Dillan Cole Thursday night, his license was suspended.  But Linda says he had been suspended for having a wreck in a company vehicle and was not drinking Thursday night. 

"He was working really hard to get his life back so he could go get his family a better job," Linda added.

Linda says the reason her husband ran was he was scared and says in his emotional state of mind, he fled it to protect his family.

"I'm sorry he took off. He was just scared. Just scared.  That is all.  He was coming badk to turn himself in and take his blame," she said.

She says words can't express what her family is going through. She feels horrible for the Cole family and feels like she's lost her husband, as well.

"I just want everybody to know we're terribly sorry and my husband would never hurt anybody this was a pure accident and we're sorry," Linda added.

William Yarbrough is in custody in North Carolina. He was arrested Saturday morning.

Yarbrough must face a judge in North Carolina before he's sent back to Tennessee because of the holiday weekend. That won't happen until Tuesday at the earliest.

Click here to email Blair Simmons.

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