Police say Mitchell Taylor Horton lost control of his friend's Hyundai Sonata on Tuesday morning, veered into the grass, broke through a fence, bumped the wheels over two driveways and smashed into Horace Cribbs, killing him. Then he kept driving.
Police have arrested Horton in the past for driving poorly with drugs in the car, but officers don't know right now if any substances led him off the road this week.
Around 7 p.m. Wednesday, Chattanooga police took Horton into custody after getting a tip on his whereabouts, Walker County, Ga., Sheriff Steve Wilson said in a news release on the capture.
Horton, 27, faces a charge in Georgia of homicide by vehicle. He is being held in the Hamilton County Jail where he awaits extradition.
The morning of the fatal crash, officers identified Horton as the suspect in the fatal hit-and-run after two people called 911. The case has been reported in local media and all over Facebook, and the owner of a Hyundai Sonata called to tell the police that he lent his car to Horton. Horton didn't return it as promised, Wilson recalled for reporters Wednesday prior to Horton's capture.
Then a Chickamauga woman called to say she thought she found the car in question, with a smashed front bumper and busted headlights, hidden under tarps and blankets on her property. The woman knows Horton. Her house on Kristen Drive is a mile-and-a-half from where Cribbs died.
Cpl. Scotty Smith, the Georgia State Patrol's local Specialized Collision Reconstruction Team leader, said investigators also saw text messages between Horton and another person. The messages boosted his belief Horton was the driver. Smith declined to say what the messages said.
"It was more than enough," he told reporters.
After seeing the messages, Wilson said Horton knows officers are looking for him. The sheriff also pointed to the covering he put over the vehicle after abandoning it.
"He knew he committed a crime," Wilson said. "He knew he messed up."
Records show Horton was arrested in Walker County on Dec. 9 on charges of possessing methamphetamine, possession of marijuana and failure to maintain lane. Fort Oglethorpe police arrested him in 2011 for possession of a controlled substance and hit and run.
In July, the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office arrested him on a charge of possession of controlled substance. A month later, Chattanooga police booked him for driving under the influence and possession of methamphetamine.
Contact staff writer Tyler Jett at 423-757-6476 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @LetsJett.relatedarticlethumb