Piedmont, Mo., man arrested on suspicion of causing fatal hit-and-run

Monday, October 27, 2008

GREENVILLE, Mo. — A Piedmont was in the Wayne County Jail this morning awaiting the filing of formal charges in connection with a fatal hit-and-run accident at Clearwater Lake.

Gale F. Smith, 41, initially was arrested at 4:51 p.m. Saturday by the Missouri State Highway Patrol on a Wayne County warrant for probation violation on an original charge of child neglect.

"One of the troopers up there got some information and followed up on it," said Patrol Sgt. Dale Moreland, Troop E's public information officer.

After Smith was arrested on the probation violation warrant, he was taken to the Piedmont Police Department, where he was questioned about the accident, Moreland said.

Based on that investigation, "he was then arrested for the leaving the scene [accident]," Moreland said.

Smith was arrested at 1:16 a.m. Sunday on suspicion of involuntary manslaughter, second-degree assault and leaving the scene of an accident. He subsequently was booked at the Wayne County Jail.

Smith is accused of allegedly fleeing after striking two people at 1:23 a.m. Saturday on Route HH, one-quarter of a mile west of Reynolds County Road 418.

According to earlier reports, pedestrians Dean A. Nordman, 41, of Burlington, Ill., and Jacob D. Thomas, 14, of House Springs, were crossing Route HH when an unidentified westbound vehicle struck them and then left the scene.

"They were walking out on the roadway in the dam area ¿ on the dam," said "He struck them in the fog, then left the scene."

Nordman was pronounced dead at the scene, while Thomas was flown to a Cape Girardeau hospital for treatment of serious injuries.

Moreland said officers also located Smith's vehicle, a 1992 Plymouth Voyager van.

"He had taken it to Mill Spring and hidden it," Moreland explained. "We located it there; it was hidden at a residence in Mill Spring."

According to Moreland, the van had damage on it.

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