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Posted on: July 7, 2018

Updated: Morgantown Police Make Arrest in Fatal Hit-and-Run

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Update 7/16/2018: On July 6, 2018 at approximately 11:15 p.m. officers of the Morgantown Police Department and the Morgantown Fire Department responded to Earl Core Road (WV Route 7) for a hit-and-run involving a bicyclist. The victim was identified as Divante COLES20 years of age from Morgantown.

The victim was traveling west on Earl Core Road when he was struck from behind by a motor vehicle traveling in the same direction. The vehicle continued traveling west on Route 7 toward the downtown area. The victim left his work and was traveling towards his residence at the time of the collision.

On the evening of July 12, 2018, officers of the Morgantown Police Department working with members of the Harrison County Sheriff’s Office and Clarksburg Police Department and West Virginia State Police were able to locate the suspect vehicle. The vehicle, a Chrysler 200, 4-door sedan, black in color with tinted window and Maryland registration, was seized and processed by detectives. The vehicle was found abandoned on a secondary roadway in Harrison County. It was apparent that someone had attempted to remove any evidence or identification from the vehicle. The vehicle was registered to a Courtney NEWKIRK of Randallstown, Maryland.

Officers identified Ladon GARRETT, 39 years of age of Randallstown, Maryland, as the suspect in this case prior to the recovery of the vehicle.

On July 16, 2018, GARRETT surrendered himself to detectives of the Morgantown Police Department at the Monongalia County Justice Center. GARRETT was charged under “Erin’s Law” - Crashes Involving Death (WV Code 17C-4-1). GARRETT was arraigned and released on a $25,000 bond.

No further updates will be released while this case is pending trial.

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Update 7/12/18: On the evening of July 12, 2018, Officers of the Morgantown Police Department working with members of the Harrison County Sheriff’s Office and Clarksburg Police Department were able to locate the suspect vehicle.  Currently the vehicle is in police custody and is being processed.   

No further information is currently available, but updates will be provided when they are available. 

Anyone having information in this case or any other criminal information may call the TIPS Line at 304-284-7520 anonymously. 

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Original Release:

On July 6,2018 at approximately 11:15 p.m. officers of the Morgantown Police Department as well as the Morgantown Fire Department responded to Earl Core Road (WV Route 7) in reference to a hit-and-run involving a person on a bicycle. Based on a preliminary investigation and witness statements, a male was riding a bicycle west on Earl Core Road when he was struck from behind by a motor vehicle traveling in the same direction. The vehicle continued traveling west on Earl Core Road ( WV Route 7) toward the downtown area. The bicyclist received serious injuries and was transported to Ruby Memorial Hospital. At 5:37 a.m. on July 7 the bicyclist, Divante Coles, a 20 year old male from Morgantown, was pronounced deceased due to the injuries received in the crash. 

The vehicle involved is described as a dark, possibly black Chrysler/Dodge sedan. The vehicle should have front end damage with the driver’s side headlamp not functioning. Police are continuing to investigate this incident and will provide updated information to media sources as it becomes available. Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to contact the Morgantown Police Department at 304-284-7522. If you need immediate Police attention or a crime is in progress call 911. 

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