Teen accused in deadly hit-and-run had 'too much on her mind'

by: Amanda Cook Updated:

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DOUGLAS COUNTY - An 18-year-old driver faced a judge for the first time Monday after she was accused of hitting a man just four minutes after he walked out of jail.

Channel 2 Action News learned an anonymous tip led to the driver's arrest.

Gary Latimer was hit and killed Sept. 17 in Douglasville. Police said he had actually just been released from the holding facility across the street on charges of public intoxication. Four minutes later, he stepped onto Fairburn Road and was struck.

Police said Tabitha Paige left the scene after she ran him over. She appeared in court from the jail through teleconferencing and cried nearly the entire time Monday morning.

Police said it was an anonymous tip that led them first to her car, which was hidden away in Alabama, and then to her arrest.

Police said Paige fully confessed and claimed that while she knew she hit Latimer, she didn't mean to and that she just had a lot on her mind with family problems.  Paige told the court she was coming from her mother's house to get gas when the victim ran out in front of her car.

“I tried my hardest to miss the man. I did everything in my will to miss him. I just didn't think about what I should have done. I should have stopped. I see that my consequences to my actions were wrong, and I should have stopped. I had too much on my mind, I suppose," Paige said. "I had so many family problems with my mother being on cancer. That's the only reason I didn't say anything."

Police said her two brothers tried to help her hide the car and cover up this crime, so they could be facing charges, too.

Police said a tip from Crime Stoppers gave them the break they needed, leading them to the car in Alabama, where it had been dismantled and sanded.

But Paige disputed that claim.

"The motor (was) messed up and that's why it was being worked on in the family shop out there. It wasn't being hidden. It was being worked on," she said.