Man pleads guilty to hit-and-run that killed disabled man last summer

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FORSYTH CO., N.C. — The sister of a disabled man killed in a hit-and-run accident last year said in Forsyth Superior Court on Wednesday that she still doesn’t understand why the man charged in her brother’s death kept driving and didn’t stop.

“My thing is if you would have stopped for him,” Charlene Douthit told James E. Williams, who pleaded guilty to felony death by motor vehicle and felony hit and run and driving after consuming alcohol while under the age of 21. “We know accidents happen. … I couldn’t fathom why you didn’t stop.”

Judge William Z. Wood sentenced Williams, 20, to two years and five months to three years and eight months in prison in the death of Vernon Tyrone Thompson, 57, on July 23.

Thompson, known as “Babe,” was disabled and got around in a wheelchair. Family members said he would go every day from his apartment complex on Chestnut Plains Court in northeastern Winston-Salem to the AZ Patterson Grocery store about a block away to talk with friends and get cigarettes.

About 9:30 p.m. July 23, Thompson was in his wheelchair heading home on 14th Street from the grocery store when Williams, who had been drinking, hit him head-on with his car, Assistant District Attorney Matt Breeding said in court.

This article was written by Michael Hewlett and originally appeared in The Winston-Salem Journal. Click here to read more.

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