• September 12, 2022

Billy Watley Killed by SUV in Hit-and-Run on Kleberg Rd in Dallas, TX

UPDATE (September 19, 2022): Police have arrested driver Kenneth Conners in relation to the hit-and-run accident that took the life of Billy Joe Watley. Investigators say after the collision Conners stopped his Chevy Trax and placed a pillow beneath the injured Watley's head, then panicked when he heard approaching sirens and fled the scene.

UPDATE (September 15, 2022): Authorities have identified the victim of this incident as 45-year-old Billy Joe Watley. Police also said they located the hit-and-run vehicle and have identified a person of interest in the case, but declined to identify that person.

Dallas, TX — September 11, 2022, a male cyclist was fatally injured by an SUV in a hit-and-run on Kleberg Road in Dallas.

Authorities say the incident happened Sunday morning on the 12900 block of Kleberg at Handlin Street. Preliminary investigation suggests the victim was riding a bicycle along the roadway when a vehicle, thought to be a white SUV, approached him from behind and struck him. Investigators allege the vehicle's driver stopped briefly and exited the vehicle, then got back in and drove away without helping the victim.

The cyclist was ejected during the collision and was pronounced dead at the scene.

The investigation is ongoing. No further information is currently available.

Commentary on Billy Watley Hit-and-Run on Kleberg Rd in Dallas

UPDATE (September 19, 2022): It seems from the most recent reports that the driver who hit the victim just got spooked at the thought of explaining himself to authorities and took off. Clearly there's no acceptable excuse for fleeing the scene after causing such terrible damage, but panic is one of the lesser sins a driver could commit in those circumstances--far less troubling than a calculated attempt to avoid responsibility or an effort to hid other heinous acts from the law.

With the suspect in custody hopefully police can confirm that "getting spooked" was really the only causal factor here; once the story is as set in stone as it's likely to get, the matter of consequences can be properly addressed. Whatever those might ultimately look like, my heart goes out to the victim's loved ones for their tragic loss.

ORIGINAL: Hit-and-run crashes are always frustrating. It seems like stopping and helping after causing catastrophic damage is the least anyone could do, so the idea that someone abandoned a victim in the roadway in an effort to save their own hide makes me see red. I always find myself asking the same question I assume most people do: "Why did they run?"

Some may think the answer to that is simple panic or a selfish desire to avoid trouble, and that may yet turn out to be true. However, when they apprehend hit-and-run drivers investigators often find they had something to hide like warrants, drugs, or drunk driving. As the latter might add certain legal complexities about where the driver was drinking and whether a business may also be liable for the victim's tragic death, it's important not to simply punish the driver for leaving the scene but also look into the events prior to the accident as well.

Of course, before punishments or circumstances can really be properly considered the runaway driver will have to be identified. Police mentioned a person of interest so hopefully that will be addressed soon, and then everyone responsible for a family's terrible loss can face appropriate consequences.

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