Brandi Oliver, 42, of Birmingham, Alabama, was killed when she was hit by a car about 9:30 p.m. on December 20, 2018. The incident happened in the 600 block of North Front Street in a heavy rainstorm.
Last week, on Wednesday, January 8, a Nettleton man turned himself in for the hit-and-run event. Tyler Jernigan, 19, of Nettleton said he was driving and thought he had hit a deer, according to published statements by his attorney, Tony Farese of Ashland. Jernigan was booked into the Lee County Jail about 4:30 p.m. and released on $10,000 bond less than a half hour later.
Jernigan, whose address is listed as 130 County Road 1202 in Nettleton, has been charged with felony leaving the scene of an accident with injury. The case will be turned over to the next Lee County Grand Jury, which convenes March 5. The penalty for being found guilty is 5 to 20 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.
Farese said Jernigan had been shopping at Barnes Crossing Mall and was going to his grandmother’s residence when the accident occurred. Jernigan did not see what he hit but knew he had hit something; damage to his windshield was discovered when he arrived at his relative’s house.
In late December, after the holidays and after Farese was back in his office, Jernigan’s family contacted him because they realized that the young man might have been the one who hit Oliver after hearing news reports of the death.
Claiming it was a tragic accident, Farese said there is no indication alcohol, drugs or any other distracting factors were involved in the event. There is also no explanation of what Oliver was doing in Tupelo, walking in the street during a heavy rainstorm.