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Suspect faces vehicular homicide charges in 2011 Covington motorcycle crash

COVINGTON -- The suspect in a January 2011 crash that killed the driver of a motorcycle is facing charges of vehicular homicide in the second degree and failure to obey stop signs or yield signs.

Sophia Rene Cook, 45, of 6133 Clane Drive, turned herself in at the Newton County Detention Center Friday.

The charges stem from a fatal crash that occurred on Ga. Highway 81 (Washington Street) at Carroll Street on Jan. 27, 2011, around 6:15 p.m., according to the Georgia State Patrol.

Cook was operating a 2002 Hyundai and pulled into the path of a 1989 Honda Hawk motorcycle operated by James Burton Eenhuis, 65, of Covington, said Gordy Wright, spokesman for the GSP. He said Cook was attempting to turn left onto Highway 81 from Carroll Street. Eenhuis, who was traveling southbound on Ga. 81, died in the crash.

In other traffic news, the GSP is still seeking the suspect in a hit-and-run fatality that occurred around 2:30 a.m. Monday on Interstate 20 near the Covington/U.S. 278 exit.

William Clark Hildreph, 44, of South Carolina was killed after he lost control of the Chevrolet Impala he was driving, struck the median wall, exited his vehicle and attempted to cross the interstate on foot.

A red or burgundy sport utility vehicle, possibly a Ford Explorer, is believed to have hit Hildreph and fled the scene. The suspect vehicle will have damage, possibly to the front end and windshield, GSP investigators said.

Also, in an unusual twist, it has been learned that the owner of the vehicle Hildreph was driving was Danny Joe Baxter of Haleyville, Ala. When law enforcement there went to inform Baxter that his vehicle had been involved in a crash, they found him dead. It is unknown if foul play is involved.

"The trooper who worked the crash has given information from his investigation to authorities in Haleyville, Ala., for use in the death investigation there," Wright said.

Anyone with information on the vehicle that may have been involved in the hit and run is asked to contact Trooper J. Slayton at GSP Monroe at 770-464-1800 or through the Communications Center in Grovetown at 706-210-2050.

Car thieves have apparently decided to cut out the middle man and steal brand new vehicles, according to the Covington Police Department.

Ginn Motor Company has recently been the victim of three thefts of 2012 vehicles from their lot on Access Road.

Two new Avalanches, a black and a gray, were taken, as well as a Red 2012 Chevrolet Suburban, incident reports from the CPD state.

All three of the thefts occurred between 10 p.m. on March 3 and 1 a.m. on March 4.

CPD Public Information Officer Capt. Ken Malcom said there are no leads in the case.

"The video surveillance tape is not giving us any clues," he said, adding that they are appealing to the public for assistance in the case. If anyone knows anything about the case, they are asked to go to their website at www.covingtonpolice.com and click on anonymous tips; go to TipSubmit; or phone the anonymous tip line at 770-385-6431.