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Ricardo Padilla Perez
courtesy of Catawba Co. Sheriff's Office

More Details Released in Arrest of Hit & Run Driver

More details have been released in the arrest of 30-year-old Ricardo Padilla Perez of U.S. Highway 221 in Marion. As reported earlier today on WHKY, Perez was arrested yesterday (January 14) on two counts of felony hit & run and single counts of driving while impaired, careless & reckless driving with wanton disregard, and no driver’s license.

At about 1:20 a.m. Sunday, the North Carolina State Highway Patrol began receiving calls regarding a white truck traveling south from Hickory in the northbound lanes on U.S. Highway 321. According to those reports, the driver was intentionally swerving into oncoming traffic. At the same time, it was reported that the truck struck several vehicles near River Road and continued south in the northbound lanes.

Troopers responded and located the pickup truck as it approached the Lincoln County line near mile-marker 30. As a Trooper got in position to stop the wrong-way vehicle, the swerved toward the Trooper as it passed by. The Trooper then traveled in the wrong direction for about a tenth of a mile, caught up with the pickup truck, and successfully executed a maneuver to stop the vehicle. The driver, Ricardo Padilla-Perez, was taken into custody without further incident.

Neither the Trooper nor the suspect were injured. The drivers of the vehicles that were hit were transported by E.M.S. to an area hospital for treatment of minor injuries.

As of this morning, Perez remained in the Catawba County Detention Facility under a $4,000 bond. He’ll appear in District Court on Tuesday (January 16) in Newton.