Police arrest Md. man in connection with fatal hit-and-run

MORGANTOWN — The man Morgantown Police believe struck and killed Divanté Coles as he biked home from work July 6 turned himself in Monday.

Ladon Garrett, 39, of Randalls-town, Md., surrendered himself to detectives at the Monongalia County Justice Center, according to a Morgantown Police Department (MPD) press release.

Garrett is charged under “Erin’s Law” and was arraigned and released on a $25,000 bond. If convicted, he faces one to five years in a state prison or a fine of not more than $5,000 and one to five years in prison.

Erin’s law was passed in 2010 as a response to the death of Erin Kenner, a WVU student who was killed in a hit-and-run. Her killer has never been found.

With the help of the Harrison County Sheriff’s Office and Clarksburg Police, the suspected vehicle, a black Chrysler 200 with Maryland registration, was found abandoned July 12, on a secondary road in Harrison County, the release stated.

Detectives processed the vehicle and believe someone attempted to remove identifying information and evidence from the car, which was registered to Courtney Newkirk, also of Randallstown, Md.

Randallstown is an unincorporated community in Baltimore.

Chief Ed Preston was unable to provide additional details since the case is now in the hands of the court.

Mon County Prosecutor Perri Jo DeChristopher was unable to answer questions relating to the case as it is pending trial.

Coles, described by his Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen co-workers and friends as a caring person, was biking home from work on Earl L. Core Road toward downtown when he was struck by a vehicle from behind, The Dominion Post previously reported.

Emergency workers responded to the call about 11:15 p.m., and Coles, 20, was taken to J.W. Ruby Memorial Hospital, where he died at 5:37 a.m. July 7.

Ahmad Abulaban, Coles’ boss, said Coles worked for him on-and-off for about six months.

“It’s sad and unbelievable,” he said of Coles’ passing. “Horrible.”

Curstin Everson, a childhood friend, said Coles was quick to smile and quick to joke. She said he used his jokes to calm her down when she was mad at work.

“It makes you want to live life to the fullest because you never know what’s going to happen,” she said. “Surround yourself with love and everyone you care about.”

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