Police say they have arrested a “person of interest” in connection to two hit-and-run crashes that targeted homeless people in Tulsa.
Tulsa Police Sgt. Shane Tuell says the man was arrested Tuesday and is being interrogated by detectives about the two attacks on Monday, one of which killed a man and seriously injured a woman.
The name of the man arrested wasn’t immediately released.
Tuell says police first recovered a white pickup truck in north Tulsa that detectives linked to the attacks. He says the man was arrested nearby a short time later.
The first vehicular assault on Monday killed one man and seriously injured a woman. Authorities say both victims were sleeping on a sidewalk. A second attack later Monday injured another homeless woman who was sitting on a curb.
TULSA, Okla. (AP) — Two hit-and-run crashes reported in less than 12 hours appeared to target homeless people in northeast Oklahoma, and investigators believe the same person carried out both attacks, police said.
The first crash killed one person Monday morning under an interstate overpass, Tulsa Police Sgt. Stephen Florea told the Tulsa World . He said the crash appeared to be a deliberate attack.
“The pickup truck actually circled the block a couple of times before coming back, driving up over the curb and driving down the sidewalk to run over these individuals,” Florea said. “There’s just no way this could have been an accident.”
He said the vehicular assault killed 46-year-old Shaun Birdo and hospitalized 49-year-old Cynthia Wallace, who suffered severe injuries. Another man suffered a minor leg injury.
Hours later, another homeless woman was hospitalized after her legs were run over in a separate crash. Florea said evidence suggests that the driver swerved to hit the woman, who was sitting on a curb. Witnesses have described the driver as a white man in his 40s.
The man who suffered a minor injury in the first crash, James Russell, said many homeless people sleep on the streets because they have nowhere else to go.
“I was very lucky today, and I’m very sorry that the people who were hit were hurt so bad and one lost his life,” Russell said. “What the man did was terribly wrong, and I hope he’s caught.”
Police have released surveillance images of a small white pickup truck that was present at both scenes. Florea said investigators don’t yet have a tag number for the vehicle.
Information from: Tulsa World, http://www.tulsaworld.com
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