Investigators say Charleston hit-and-run victim struck while walking on Morgantown sidewalk

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — As the investigation unfolds in a deadly weekend hit-and-run in Morgantown, evidence shows the victim would have been defenseless.

Charleston native Carli Sears, 20, died from injuries she received from the impact on Stewart Street Sunday morning at 2:30 a.m.

Alexander Hambrick, 19, was jailed on a $50,000 bond and charged with a felony.

“He left the roadway and went onto the side walk and Miss Sears was struck from behind. So, there was no way she could even see the truck to avoid it,” Morgantown Police Chief Ed Preston told Hoppy Kercheval on Metronews “Talkline”.

Friends who were with Sears described a black truck and what they saw unfold.

Ultimately, investigators discovered they were looking for a particular black Ford F-150.

“Every black pickup truck could be the suspect vehicle. In this one, we had the particularized damage and the particularized tread pattern from the tire,” Preston detailed.

Morgantown police discovered a truck at an apartment complex outside city limits and combed through it Monday morning.

“We seized the pickup truck, were able to speak with additional witnesses, were able to track down the owner information on the vehicle while the vehicle was being impounded and identified Mr. Hambrick as the driver of that truck,” said the police chief.

Hambrick surrendered to police at station headquarters Monday afternoon facing 1 – 5 years in prison if convicted of a felony under Erin’s Law.
The law calls for a felony charge if a driver does not return to the scene of an accident where the victim dies.

There have been no charges related to alcohol violations.

“Him being taken into custody so far after the fact would negate any potential DUI tests,” Preston said Tuesday. “So, right now everything we have related to alcohol would be witness statements or things of that nature, text messages, and that’s all part of the investigative process that’s ongoing.”
Sears, who died at a local hospital Sunday afternoon, was a graduate of George Washington High School and attended the University of Mississippi. She was studying hospitality management.

Hambrick, of Winfield, is a first-year WVU student enrolled in the Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources.