Famous Victims or Infamous Drivers



On March 24, 2001, 67-year-old Hubert Covel Jr was driving on Interstate 35 in Oklahoma, when he suddenly crossed into oncoming traffic and was killed when he struck a charter bus head on. It was called a tragic accident and many considered that Mr Covel had suffered a heart attack before he lost control. No further action was taken Six months later,  a Purcell, Oklahoma officer had responded to a domestic dispute when an angry boyfriend made a claim that  29-year-old Jeannie Sparlin, had killed someone. Upon further investigation, it was determined that Sparlin had rear-ended Covel's vehicle, forcing him across the road. Sparlin later pled guilty to leaving the scene of an accident. Mr Hubert Covel Jr was the father of Toby Keith Covel, more widely known as the county music star, Toby Keith. 


Mike Shanahan is well known as the two time Super Bowl winning coach of the Denver Bronco's.

In 1999, Paul Attner of The Sporting News tells the story of how Mike became a victim to a hit and run driver in Chicago, Illinois in a crash that would cost a friend, Mickey Bertini, his life.

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Actor Wally Vernon, was killed by a hit and run driver on March 7, 1970 in Van Nuys, California. Actress Eileen Brennan was seriously injured by a hit and run driver in 1984. While she recovered from her injuries, the three year absence damaged her career in Hollywood.


Political Hit and Run Drivers

Massachusetts
US Senator
Edward M Kennedy
6/19/1969
killed 28 yoa Mary Jo Kopechne

Pennsylvania
State Representative
Thomas W Druce
7/27/1999
killed 42 yoa Kenneth Cains

Tennessee
State Senator
Carl O. Koella, Jr.
10/22/1996
killed 53 yoa Terry Barnard


Tennessee Volunteers football star Dwayne Goodrich, was the Dallas Cowboy's 2nd round draft pick in 2000.

On January 14, 2003, the 25 year old cornerback struck and killed 2 young men racing to pull people from a burning car from a prior wreck. He never stopped and is currently serving a 7-1/2 year sentence for 2 counts of negligent homicide.   


Former Georgetown University point guard, 1988 Olympic bronze medalist, and Boston Celtics Charles Edward Smith IV was convicted of vehicular homicide and leaving the scene of an accident in the March 22,1991 deaths of two Boston University students (An Trinh, 21, of Placentia, California., and Michelle Dartley, 20, of Ridgewood, New Jersey) He served 28 months of a 4-1/2 year sentence in prison and attempted unsuccessfully to return to professional basketball.

"It was a tragic accident," Smith said. "I wish I could change it. I continue to pray for the families every day. It's going to be a scar for life, though." (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel 12/95)


28 year old Keven A Conner is known to his fans as Dino. With his twin brother Shazam and longtime friend, G.I., the trio created the music group H-Town. The group is most widely known from the "Knockin' da Boots" single, off their debut platinum selling album "Fever For Da Flavor". On January 28, 2003, riding in a car driven by his fiance', 22 year old Teshya Rae Weisent, the couple were struck and killed by a hit and run driver in Houston, Texas. 

Bonnie Jo Halpin was called by Hugh Heffner, his first Playboy Club bunny. On March 31, 2004, 65 year old Bonnie died from an overdose of pain killers, prescribed for injuries  she received in a serious accident when she was struck by a hit and run driver while walking her dog a month before. After she left Playboy at the age of 25, Bonnie became a marathon runner, a longtime volunteer at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles and a devoted animal rights advocate.

Photo from the cover of October 1962 Playboy Magazine


(8-29-1999) Former NFL linebacker Jaime Fields was killed in a car accident by a motorist who ran a red light then fled by foot, police said. Fields, 29, who played for the Kansas City Chiefs, was driving alone in his 1991 BMW 13 miles southeast of downtown Los Angeles when the accident occurred at about 1:20 a.m. CDT, Sgt. Pete Novakoff said. The driver of a Ford Taurus ran a red light and slammed into the driver's side of Fields' car. Fields was pronounced dead at the scene, Novakoff said. Fields played for the University of Washington and was drafted in the fourth round by the Kansas City Chiefs in 1993. He played for the Chiefs until 1995.


7/18/1969
28 year old Mary Jo Kopechne
Chappaquiddick Island
US Senator Edward M "Ted" Kennedy pled guilty and was convicted of leaving the scene of an accident / sentence suspended

Nepal's  Crown Prince Paras has reportedly been involved in four fatal hit and run accidents in his lifetime but his royal status has saved him from ever being prosecuted.
(Source NY Times 4/27/04 Katmandu)

3/2004 - Catholic Bishop Thomas J. O'Brien was convicted of the hit and run death of Jim Reed. 43 year old Reed was intoxicated and jaywalking the evening of June 14, 2003 when he was struck by the 68 year old bishop, who had just finished mass. The conviction meant O'Brien could have been sentenced to 3 3/4 years in prison but instead was sentenced to four years of probation and 1,000 hours of community service. He also resigned as head of the Phoenix, Arizona diocese.


Frank Sinatra's best friend and New York club owner, Jilly Rizzo, was hit and killed by a hit and run driver on May 6, 1992. The driver was convicted of second degree murder and received a 15-year-to-life sentence. As of July 2005, he is still in prison. Mr. Sinatra succumbed to a heart attack in May 1998, and is buried near his long time friend.


Better known for her volatile marriage to movie producer Sam Spiegel, brunette Lynne Baggett played a waitress in Mildred Pierce (1945) and many walk-on's in various World War II films. She played many other waitresses, hostesses, nurses, and chorus girls but her screen time was brief. Her marriage to Spiegel was fraught with newspaper headlines of infidelity. In 1954, Baggett was sentenced to 50 days in the Los Angeles County Jail for a hit-and-run accident that cost the life of a nine-year-old child. Her own death in 1960 was attributed to an overdose of barbiturates.  (info from All Movie Guide)


On September 16, 1989, 24 year old Steven Stayner was heading for home, when a car pulled out in front of his motorcycle. Unable to stop, Stayner died upon impact, while the driver of the car fled. While unknown to most of the country, Steven was infamous in the state of California. In 1972, at the age of 7, Steven had been kidnapped by a child sex molester and was held captive for over 7 years. In 1980, after his abductor had kidnapped another child, Steven rescued the boy and escaped.
In May of 1988, Steven's story was documented in the NBS miniseries "I Know My First Name Is Steven". At the time of his death, his abductor, Eugene Parnell, has served a 5 year prison sentence and was living in Northern California, where unknown to authorities at the time, he was  working at a teen rehabilitation center in Oakland . The hit and run driver got a 3 month sentence. Steven left a wife and 2 children. As one friend stated, "He can't be hurt anymore now"
(photo - 14 year old Stephen with the boy he rescued, 5 year old Timmy White courtesy - Corbis)  (info)


In 1973, then Massachusetts state legislature Michael Dukakis lost his brother to a hit and run driver. Dukakis would go on to become the governor of Massachusetts and eventually run for US President in 1988 on the Democratic ticket, only to be defeated by George Bush. (unable to obtain his brothers name or facts of the case on the internet)

In this 1973 publicity photo, and standing 2nd from right, Eddie Serrano poses with fellow members of the group 'Yaqui'. In his career, Eddie would also sing with other groups, including 'Thee Enchantments' and 'Cannibal and the Headhunters'. On August 17th, 1998, Eddie would be struck while bicycling in Los Angeles by a hit and run driver. Eight days later, he would die.


The Rape and Hit and Run Death, many say Murder, of Jancita Eagle Deer

Rose Cheramie, the prostitute and exotic dancer that predicted Kennedy's assasination



Hit and Run Accidents