Highway Patrol charges man in hit-and-run after finding vehicle hidden in woods

Published 2:43 pm Saturday, September 26, 2020

SALISBURY — A 44-year-old Salisbury man on Saturday was arrested and charged with felony hit-and-run in connection to an incident that left a pedestrian dead on the side of Camp Road.

Samuel Knotts was arrested and charged with felony hit-and-run in connection with the death of William Odell Lea, a 66-year-old man also from Salisbury. Lea was found dead in an embankment on Camp Road early Thursday morning.

The Highway Patrol said on Thursday they received a call at 3:08 a.m. that a pedestrian was hit by a car near the prison. The vehicle fled the scene, but Highway Patrol 1st Sgt. Garrett Barger said the agency received a tip that Knotts thought he hit someone, and the Highway Patrol matched Knotts’ vehicle to one seen on surveillance footage. There was also a piece of headlight lens recovered from the scene.

Barger said investigators tried several addresses on file before finding the correct one for Knotts. He said the Highway Patrol received permission from a neighbor to look into the wooded area behind the home, where an officer saw a vehicle covered in a tarp.

Officers got a warrant to search the area and determined the vehicle had been pushed into the woods before being covered. Barger said Knotts confessed and was arrested at Superior Walls, where he works.

Records show Knotts remained in the Rowan County Jail Saturday under a $25,000 bond.

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About Carl Blankenship

Carl Blankenship has covered education for the Post since December 2019. Before coming to Salisbury he was a staff writer for The Avery Journal-Times in Newland and graduated from Appalachian State University in 2017, where he was editor of The Appalachian.

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