Hit & run leaves pregnant mom, Good Samaritan dead

5:24 PM, May 30, 2012   |    comments
  • Chasity Thornell
  • Nelson Soto and his wife, Elvia
  • Chasity Thornell and her daughter, Ava
  • Crews on scene of a double fatal hit-and-run on Washington Pike. 5/30/12
  • Nelson Soto
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Knoxville Police believe they have located the driver and the truck involved in a fatal hit and run accident early Wednesday morning. 

Through evidence and tips from the public, investigators tracked down the vehicle, a silver 2004 Ford Explorer at a home in North Knoxville around 2 pm. 

The man who investigators believe was driving the vehicle has already hired an attorney.  He has not been charged, and KPD is not yet releasing his name.

Once investigators have completed processing the vehicle, they will seek warrants for his arrest through the Knox County District Attorney General's Office.

Previous story

An early morning hit-and-run crash on Washington Pike has killed a pregnant woman and a Good Samaritan who assisted her.

Two women stopped at a man's house on the 4200 block of Washington Pike to ask for help after their vehicle ran out of gas, Knoxville Police Department spokesperson Darrell DeBusk said.

Nelson A. Soto, 45,  answered the knock and helped the women. Soto's son told 10News that his father had just gotten home from work, so he was still awake. He put gas from a gas can he had at the home inside the car.

When Soto was done, the women hugged him to thank him.  At that moment, a speeding Ford Expedition heading east hit Soto and one of the women, Chasity E. Thornell, 24, of Millertown Pike.  Both were declared dead at the scene.

Emergency responders discovered Thornell was seven months pregnant.  Thornell's baby also died. Thornell leaves behind a 19-month-old daughter, Ava.

The woman who was with Thornell was not hit.

Police are looking for the driver of a silver or white Ford Expedition.  The suspect is described as a tall, white male with a slender build, who may be in his 20's.  The vehicle would have front end and passenger side damage.

Anyone with information about the hit-and-run is asked to call the Knoxville Police Department at 865-215-7212 or call 911.

Update 6:57 a.m.

The family of a man they say was killed in a hit-and-run on Washington Pike tells 10News he was struck while helping two females who had run out of gas early Wednesday morning.  They say one of the stranded females was also struck and dragged killing her.   

According to family members, two females knocked on the man's door around 1:30 a.m. after running out of gas on Washington Pike.  He had just finished his 3rd shift job.  They say the man was filling their vehicle with gas when both he and one of the females were hit and dragged.  

The suspect vehicle is described as a white or silver colored SUV with heavy front-end damage and missing headlights.

Police are still investigating the accident.

Washington Pike between Alice Bell and Atoka Lane was reopened just before 7:00 a.m. after police closed it for several hours for the investigation.

10News has a crew on scene.  Stay with 10News and wbir.com for more information on this developing story.

Previous story

Police are investigating a double-fatal hit-and-run in north Knoxville.

It happened just before 2:00 a.m. on Washington Pike between Alice Bell Road and Atoka Lane.

KPD says two people were struck and killed on Washington Pike.

Witnesses told police that the suspect vehicle may be a 2004 Ford Expedition white or silver in color.  It will have heavy front-end damage and missing headlights.  Anyone with information is asked to call police.

Reconstruction crews were still on scene at the time of this posting.

There's no word yet on when Washington Pike will be back open.
Stay with 10News and wbir.com for more details on this developing story.



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