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Family offers a reward in hit-and-run

COVINGTON - The family of a man who was struck by a vehicle in the parking lot of a local shopping center last week is now offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the whereabouts of the driver who reportedly fled the scene.

About 1 a.m. Sunday, police responded to the parking lot between Ingles and Five O'clock Somewhere in the Covington Gallery shopping center off U.S. Highway 278 after receiving a call about a person being hit by a vehicle.

Upon arriving at the scene, officers found the victim lying on his back with a towel under his head, which was soaked in blood, according to an incident report completed by Covington Police Officer Justin Blankenship.

The victim's girlfriend told police that her boyfriend had walked over to a man, whom she described as being short, between 30 and 40 years of age, and driving what appeared to be a light blue Acura, and asked for a cigarette.

The suspect, who was also said to have a shaved head and was wearing glasses, khaki pants and a green knit shirt, reportedly told the victim "No," and then backed up his vehicle, striking the victim in the process.

The driver then turned onto Turner Lake Road, traveling northbound. According to Lt. Wendell Wagstaff, spokesman for the CPD, witnesses were able to get a partial reading of the vehicle's tag, which he said began with "ATZ."

The victim, who was airlifted to an Atlanta hospital following the incident, was required to have several staples in the back of his head to seal the wound.

Relatives of the victim also said his leg was run over by the driver but was not broken. Both of the victim's arms were also reportedly injured.

Although he is recovering, relatives said the victim is still in a lot of pain.

Police ask that anyone who has knowledge of this vehicle or its driver to call CPD Detective Mike Tinsley at 770-786-7605. Tips can be given to the CPD anonymously by visiting their Web site at www.covingtonpolice.com and clicking on "contact us" and then "secret witness."

Joel Griffin can be reached at joel.griffin@newtoncitizen.com.