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HCHS senior killed in Raleigh hit-and-run

RALEIGH – For the second time in the course of one week, a Hertford County High School senior has lost their life.

Tayona Smith, 17, of Murfreesboro was struck and killed by a hit-and-run driver in Raleigh at around 7:30 p.m. on March 5.

According to a report filed by North Carolina State Highway Patrol Trooper Ryan Chernoff, Smith was among five individuals traveling along a section of Old Milburnie Road when their vehicle had a flat tire.

Chernoff told the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald that due to a limited amount of shoulder on that rural, two-lane highway, the vehicle was not able to completely pull off the road in an effort to change the flat tire.

“Miss Smith and another female passenger were standing near the rear of their vehicle, which was parked in the southbound lane, when another vehicle traveling south came up behind them,” Chernoff said. “That vehicle struck both girls, then swerved to the left to avoid impacting the parked car, and immediately drove away.”

Smith died of her injuries while the other 17-year-old that was struck survived.

Chernoff said the other four occupants of the car were all from the Petersburg, VA area.

He added there was evidence left at the scene by the suspect vehicle.

“Based on a part left at the scene that contained a serial number and from eyewitness accounts, we’re looking for a black in color Toyota Tundra truck, year model from 2007 to 2015,” Chernoff noted. “Damage to that truck should be to the right front, to include the Toyota emblem that was found at the scene.”

Anyone with knowledge of the whereabouts of that truck can contact the Wake County office of the Highway Patrol at 919-733-4400 or their nearest law enforcement agency.

Hertford County High School students and staff were still mourning the death of senior Vashaun Smith (no relation) who was murdered on Feb. 26 outside his home near Ahoskie.

Terrance Terrell Joyner, 24 of Cofield, was arrested in that shooting and is charged with first degree murder.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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