Springfield woman gets $20K bond on charges related hit-and-run that killed man

A Springfield woman was arraigned Tuesday morning in the Clark County Municipal Court on charges related to a hit-and-run crash that killed a pedestrian.

Sarah Swaney, 47, was charged with aggravated vehicular homicide, tampering with evidence and failure to stop after an accident Monday, according to court records. She was given a total of a $20,000 bond. As of Tuesday afternoon, she was not listed as an inmate in the Clark County Jail.

Russell Morgan, 57, of Springfield, died of his injuries suffered from the hit-and-run crash, according to the Clark County Coroner’s Office.

“Your honor, I don’t know what it means, but I’m so sorry,” Swaney said during her arraignment.

Springfield Police officers were dispatched around 10 a.m. Monday to the 2200 block of East High Street in regards to the hit-and-run crash involving a pedestrian, according to an affidavit filed in the case. When the first officers arrived, they found a bystander administering CPR to Morgan.

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

Officers spoke to a few witnesses about the accident.

One witness told police she was driving west on East High Street when she noticed a man standing in the middle of the road. She said she wasn’t sure what he was doing, but stopped to prevent striking him and that’s when Morgan started to cross the street in front of her.

“The next thing she knew, a truck went flying past her on her right and struck the pedestrian. The truck did not stop and continued westbound,” the affidavit stated.

A second witness told police he also saw the accident and attempted to follow the suspect’s vehicle to get the license plate number, but got stuck at a light and lost the vehicle, the affidavit stated. All witnesses described the suspect vehicle as a white pickup truck hauling a trailer with lawn care equipment.

A short time later, Morgan was pronounced dead as a result of his injures at Springfield Regional Medical Center.

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Officers were able to watch video surveillance of the suspect vehicle at two locations and checked several areas for the vehicle, the affidavit stated. A short time later, an officer saw the white truck, with no trailer, on a different street and called for assistance.

The officer arrested Swaney.

“She stated a car was stopped in the roadway with no lights, no flashers, no signals. She passed the vehicle on the right. She admitted that she saw the pedestrian but stated she did not think she hit him. She didn’t hear any noise or feel a ‘jolt’ from a strike,” the affidavit stated. “She didn’t stop because she didn’t think she hit anyone.”

At the police station, Swaney also said she didn’t have money to fix her brake lines and relies only on her back breaks, which is why she passed the initial car stopped in the road, the affidavit stated.

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“She stated as she was passing, she saw the pedestrian running out into the roadway and observed him stop in front of the car that was stopped … She didn’t think she hit him, so she didn’t stop,” the affidavit stated. “She also admitted that she was aware something had happened because she stated she looked in her rearview mirror and noticed the guy on the ground.”

Swaney was arrested for aggravated vehicle homicide, vehicular manslaughter, felony hit-and-run, driving under suspension, no driver’s license, tampering with evidence, improper passing on the right and unsafe vehicle, according to the affidavit.

Officers are continuing their investigation.

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