A 29-year-old Columbus man dies after being struck by a car walking along a dark stretch of a Lowndes County road.
Craig Hauser was pronounced dead at the scene along Lee-Stokes Road between Cole Road and the Highway 82 overpass in far eastern Lowndes County not long after the 7:30 p.m. accident Monday, Coroner Greg Merchant said.
Investigators think Hauser, who was dressed in dark-colored clothing, was walking northbound along the edge of Lee-Stokes Road when he was struck by the right front side of 2007 Nissan Altima driven north by 34-year-old Janie Ashcraft who was on her way home from church, according to Sheriff’s Department Chief Deputy Marc Miley.
Merchant and Miley said investigators aren’t sure where Hauser was going. His girlfriend lives in Vernon, Ala. and works at a bank in Columbus, but Merchant said he and others don’t have an indication he was going to Vernon.
“We’re checking video cameras at the State Line Fuel Center to see if he was there. It would be helpful to know some of those things just for some closure,” Merchant said. “We just want to make sure we get it all sorted out. That may take a minute or two.”
After hitting Hauser, Ashcraft realized she must have struck something and stopped and called 9-1-1. She was so shaken by the incident, she had to be taken to Baptist Memorial Hospital-Golden Triangle to be checked out.
Miley and Merchant said investigators found no indication of drug or alcohol use by either the driver or the victim. But as is routine procedure, toxicology tests are being done.
Miley also said deputies found no indication Ashcraft was texting or on her phone or otherwise distracted.
“We didn’t find anything like that at all. You know that is a really dark stretch of road,” Miley said. “And that’s unusual given that it is near Highway 82 and such a smooth stretch of road.”
Lowndes Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements for Hauser.
It’s the second period of morning in less than two months for his family. His mother died in early August.
He is survived by a brother in Columbus, a sister in Tennessee and his grandparents from Philadelphia, Miss.
Ironically, at almost the same time, a bicyclist died after being struck by a car as he rode along old Highway 25 just north of Poorhouse Road in Oktibbeha County.
D’Shante Nix, 23, died about 30 minutes after being struck at about 7:45 p.m. Monday, according to Oktibbeha County Coroner Michael Hunt.
Nix and his bike were thrown into the ditch along the road. That area is popular among bikers but it also is dark.
Investigators believe Nix was struck by two cars, the first of which stopped and the second of which, thought to be.yellow-green Toyota Scion or Matrix, left going north on Old Highway 25 toward Starkville.