COLUMBIA, Tenn. – Police have charged a man in connection with a fatal hit-and-run in Columbia.
Columbia Police said 22-year-old Jason Strickland turned himself in on Wednesday afternoon. He was charged with reckless vehicular homicide, leaving the scene of a fatal crash and failure to stop and render aid.
Police said he struck and killed 62-year-old Benito Andrade Fuentez early Wednesday morning along Campbellsville Pike.
Police said Fuentez walked down Campbellsville Pike, like he did every morning, on his way to the Stoneybrook golf course where he was a groundskeeper. Fuentez left his home around 3 a.m. Wednesday and was hit nearly a mile away.
"All indications tell us that Mr. Fuentez was walking on the correct side of the road facing traffic," Lt. Jeremy Alsup said. "We believe the vehicle which struck him was traveling south bound and crossed over into the north bound lanes."
Police said Strickland crossed the center line and hit Fuentez from behind. His body was found around 7 a.m. when someone called to report a body in a yard.
When Fuentez didn't show up for work, his supervisor's called his wife and they quickly learned something had gone terribly wrong. They describe him as a hard worker who changed the landscape of the golf course in many ways.
"With his limited ability to speak English, it was amazing the joy…he communicated with his life," Stoneybrook General Manager Rick Saxby said. "And the amount of people out here who were attracted to him and his enthusiasm."
Fuentez is described as a family man and is survived by his wife, children and grandchildren. The Stoneybrook golf course is accepting donations to help with funeral costs.
"I think he brought more to Stoneybrook than what we could've ever given him," Saxby said. "He just did so much so much for us in such a short period of time. We'll just never ever be able to replace him.
Anyone interested in making a donation can call Stoneybrook at 931-388-5143 or e-mail Rick Saxby at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Strickland was taken to the Maury County Jail and is being held on bond.