Person of interest identified in hit-and-run that killed toddler
UPDATE, Thursday, Sept. 21, 5:25 p.m.: THP and the Sevier County Sheriff's Department have identified a person of interest and a vehicle matching the description of the one involved in a hit-and-run that killed a 13-month-old girl on Chapman Highway.
Sevier County District Attorney General Jimmy Dunn said the two agencies have identified the person of interest, but no charges have been filed, and no one is in custody.
PREVIOUS STORY: The Tennessee Highway Patrol is asking for the public's help to find a suspect in a deadly hit-and-run that killed a toddler on Chapman Highway in Sevier County Wednesday morning.
Investigators said a 13-month-old child was hit and killed by what is believed to be a 2005-2008 four-door red Pontiac Vibe hatchback that was traveling north on Highway 441.
The department is now offering a $5,000 reward for information that leads to the location of the vehicle and arrest of the suspect involved in that fatal crash.
In a statement about the reward, Department of Safety and Homeland Security Commissioner David W. Purkey said "East Tennessee experienced a tragedy in Sevier County Wednesday."
"The Highway Patrol has its best Troopers working to locate this driver, and we’re offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to this arrest," Purkey said. "I’m asking my fellow East Tennesseans to help us locate this vehicle and driver, as we honor the life of this little baby."
"Someone knows who this driver is. This driver needs to do the right thing and come forward today. Make no mistake about it, our State Troopers will prevail and locate this vehicle," Purkey said.
THP released a photo of the vehicle Wednesday night. Anyone with information is asked to contact THP's Knoxville office and request to speak with Sgt. Steve Manning at (865) 544-3380.
An employee at Cota's Comfort Heating and Cooling said the toddler was the child of another employee at the store.
Around 11 a.m. Wednesday, the Sevier County Sheriff's Office tweeted that deputies were investigating a crash involving a pedestrian in the 12000 block of Chapman Highway and for people to avoid the area.