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Driver ID'd in Johnston Hit-and-Run Case

Highway Patrol troopers who recognized the suspect in a hit-and-run in Johnston County have identified the man. He originally gave a false name to police.

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FOUR OAKS, N.C. — The alleged driver in a Johnston County hit-and-run Sunday night has been positively identified Tuesday by the North Carolina Highway Patrol as Hipolito Hernandez, 30, of Parkertown Road in Four Oaks.

Hernandez originally gave a false name to the arresting officers, but state troopers who had dealt with him before recognized him and were able to identify him, Highway Patrol spokesman Lt. Everett Clendenin said.

State troopers said Marcus Lassiter, 7, was trying to cross Heath Road when a car driven by Hernandez struck him.

The child’s leg was broken and he had brain damage.

Lassiter's aunt, Mary Ann Cooley, said the family made the decision to remove Marcus from life support, and he died late Monday night.

The suspect has used several aliases with different birth dates and middle names, so the Highway Patrol is hoping federal immigration authorities can help with more definitive information, including whether the man might be in the country illegally.

Hernandez is charged him with felony hit-and-run, felony assault, driving while intoxicated, possession of a stolen vehicle, driving without a license, speeding and reckless driving in the death of the child. He remained in jail Wednesday, held on a $1 million bond.

Prosecutors said they plan to charge Hernandez with second-degree murder Thursday.


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