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GSP searching for hit-and-run driver in I-20 fatality

COVINGTON -- The Georgia State Patrol is seeking the person driving an SUV around 2:30 a.m. Tuesday on I-20 eastbound between the Almon Road and the Covington/U.S. Highway 278 exits who struck and killed a man who exited his vehicle after crashing into the median wall.

The interstate was shut down for hours following the crash and delayed rush hour traffic, but the Newton County Sheriff's Office reported it had opened again around 8 a.m.

According to a press release from the GSP, Trooper 1st Class J. Slayton from the Monroe Post #46 is investigating the crash and is appealing to the public to help find the vehicle that fled the scene. The search is on for a red or burgundy sport utility vehicle -- possibly a Ford Explorer, but the exact make is not known. The vehicle will have damage, possibly to the front end and windshield.

The preliminary investigation into the crash reveals that William Clark Hildreph, 44, of South Carolina, lost control of his Chevrolet Impala and struck the median wall.

"This caused the vehicle to spin and come to rest facing west in the eastbound lanes," the release states. "Hildreph apparently exited his vehicle and was crossing the travel lanes on foot when he was hit by the SUV. The SUV then left the scene. A Chevrolet Malibu then hit the Impala. All evidence indicates that Hildreph was struck and killed by the SUV and he was outside the vehicle at the time of the crash."

Anyone with information on the vehicle is asked to contact Slayton at GSP Monroe at 770-464-1800 or through the Communications Center in Grovetown at 706-210-2050.