Suspect In Fatal Hit And Run Buries Vehicle, Troopers Say
McALESTER, Oklahoma - Oklahoma Highway Patrol has arrested two people connected to a deadly hit and run in McAlester and dug the vehicle involved out of the ground. News On 6 was there when troopers arrested the second suspect.
OHP says social media, video surveillance and tips helped them arrest two people. They says troopers around the state including some from Tulsa helped push this investigation forward.
Tim Swearengin was booked into the Pittsburg County jail arrested for accessory to manslaughter and destruction of evidence. His arrest came just days after Tonia Beall was arrested for manslaughter and leaving the scene of a fatal crash.
For the last week and a half, OHP Investigators, the Pittsburg County Sheriff's Office and other agencies have been working to find out who killed Curtis Johnson.
"We brought an emergency response team in to canvas for video all though the city of McAlester," said Captain Ronnie Hampton of OHP's Traffic Homicide Unit.
"We've brought in helicopters to search for disturbed ground."
OHP said an off-duty trooper found Johnson last week, lying on a service road near Highway 69. He died a short time later. investigators say video shows Tonia Beall hitting Johnson and driving away.
"We determined through social media, exactly a post that was put on social media, we had people come forward and provide us a name of a possible suspect," Hampton said.
OHP says what's unique about this case is Beall met up with Tim Swearengin a few days later, and troopers say he cut up the van and buried it 8 feet under ground.
"To get to the point that you actually dig up the earth and try to take a vehicle apart and bury it in a hole is the first I've seen, and I've been in law enforcement for 30 years," he said.
Troopers say they want justice for Johnson and his family, and although two arrests were made, they are still looking for witnesses.