Law enforcement have arrested and charged the suspect in a hit-and-run that killed a Durham cyclist earlier this month, the Wake County Sheriff’s Office said Wednesday.
Omari Newsome, 33, of Durham, was arrested in Randolph County over two weeks after he struck 40-year-old Matthew Simpson in Durham.
At the request of the Durham Police Department, a team from the Wake County Sheriff’s Office traced Newsome’s location to Randolph County Wednesday morning, according to a news release. Newsome was taken into custody in Asheboro, with help from the Randolph County Sheriff’s Office.
He has been charged with felony hit and run, felony conspiracy and felony death by motor vehicle.
“I just want to say how incredibly grateful I am to the investigation team, and the police department, and everyone in the community who provided information,” Allison Simpson, Matthew Simpson’s wife, told The News & Observer Wednesday.
“I’m just really grateful to everyone,” she said.
On July 10, police said Newsome’s car hit Matthew Simpson while he and his family were biking through a crosswalk on the Ellerbee Creek Trail, where it crosses into Westover Park via Guess Road. Simpson was transported to a local hospital, where he died of his injuries four days later, The News & Observer previously reported.
Durham Police identified Newsome as the suspect but he fled the scene, the Wake County Sheriff’s office said. Durham Police obtained arrest warrants, but couldn’t locate him, the Wake County Sheriff’s Office said.
Newsome’s location was traced to Randolph County by Wake County’s Criminal Analysis and Apprehension Team, a group of deputies who focus on tracking those with outstanding felony arrest warrants.
Simpson was a software engineer who had relocated to North Carolina from Washington, D.C., in 2014, The N&O reported. He is survived by his wife and two young children.
A “Ride of Silence” was organized in Westover Park in July 24 in Matthew Simpson’s honor, The N&O reported. About 100 cyclists gathered to honor Simpson and hear his wife speak. The event was organized by Bike Durham, an advocacy group supporting Durham cyclists.
After the July 24 memorial, a “ghost bike” — painted white in memory of the death of a bicyclist — was stationed in Westover Park. Residents left flowers and notes to pay tribute to Simpson, The N&O previously reported.
Around 1,000 cyclists are hit in collisions with vehicles in North Carolina every year, the North Carolina Department of Transportation reported. Of these, about 20 cyclists are killed and about 60 are severely injured.
Between 2010 and 2019, 466 cyclists were hit by cars in Durham County, according to NCDOT data. Seven were killed.
This story was originally published July 27, 2022 3:57 PM.
CORRECTION: This story has been updated to show that around 1,000 cyclists are hit by vehicles in North Carolina every year. A previous version incorrectly said 1,000 cyclists are killed.
Corrected Jul 27, 2022
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