2 men accused of hitting woman crossing the street and leaving her to die

UPDATE: According to court documents, Koechiesta Smith was found not guilty on all counts following a trial in 2024.

Two men are behind bars after investigators spent the weekend tracking them down.

They’re accused of hitting a grandmother crossing the street instead of stopping to help, leaving her there to die.

Brookhaven Police say they’ve charged Hugo Valente and Koechiesta Smith with hitting and leaving 55-year-old Linda Powell.

On Thursday morning, Powell was crossing Clairmont at Canmont Drive when she was hit by one car and then a second. Powell was not in a crosswalk when she was crossing.

The victim’s daughter Amanda Whitaker waited for days for the call she got Monday morning.

“I spent the last few days obsessing over it I wanted them arrested,” said Amanda Whitaker.

She was hoping she would find closure when she found out the men were in custody.

“Not because he hit her, because that genuinely was an accident, but because he left her like she was garbage on the side of the road...you can’t do that to somebody,” said Whitaker.

Neither accused driver stopped, but witnesses did.

“There are good people in this world, and they’re willing to stop and help the police,” said Lt. Jacob Kissel with Brookhaven Police.

Kissel said with the use of cameras, investigators could track down the cars and drivers involved.

The two drivers are now charged with felony hit and run, but say more could be coming.

“Our investigators are still looking into what caused the accident. Were they driving while distracted? Were they on their phones? That’s why we said there may be other charges that come about in this case,” said Kissel.

Powell’s family is hoping for peace which is hard to find right now.

“If I ever want to see my mom again I have to go to a cemetery, my kids don’t have a grandmother,” said Whitaker.

Her family is now working to raise funds for her burial. You can donate at here.





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