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Driver, mother charged in fatal hit and run - Greenville, NC | News | Weather | Sports - WNCT.com

Driver, mother charged in fatal hit and run

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MT. OLIVE, N.C. -

Highway Patrol Troopers have charged the driver involved in a hit and run that killed a Duplin County toddler.

Troopers say 49-year-old Michele Merritt of Mount Olive is charged with misdemeanor hit and run. 21-month old Ismael Alexander was killed in the crash on May 31.

Investigators say Ismael was playing in the yard with two other children when he made his way to the end of the driveway which is just off Garner Chapel Road. That's when troopers say Merritt hit the toddler and drove away without stopping.

The Duplin County Sheriff's Office arrested the boy's mother, Delmi Garcia. She's charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor. We're told Garcia was released on a $2,000 unsecured bond.

Merritt is expected in court in September.

--- Previous Story ---

Troopers confirm they have located a suspect and vehicle involved in the hit and run that killed a 21-month-old.

They tell us they have talked with the suspect but have not filed any charges yet.

--PREVIOUS STORY--

A Mount Olive toddler killed following a Friday evening hit and run will be remembered this week. 

The family identifies the 21-month-old hit and killed as Ismael Alexander. Ismael's family and friends describe him as calm baby, who loved to give his grandmother kisses before she left the house.

Troopers says Ismael was playing in the yard with two other children when he made his way to the end of the driveway which is just off Garner Chapel Road. That's when troopers say car hit the toddler and drove away without stopping.

Troopers says Ismael's mother drove the little boy to the hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Cindronia Valdez goes to church with Ismael's family and says he found out about the accident at church.

"Everybody at church was saying that a kid had been hit, and it was somebody we knew. And they had seen a bunch of cops up the road. They said the kid was at the hospital, everybody was sad. We thought he was going to be ok; but, then one of the ladies showed up at church crying, saying that the kid was dead," said Valdez.

Ismael's family doesn't speak much English, but his grandmother, agreed to talk with 9 on your Side through translator, Kemberlyn Salinas.

"It was a very strong pain. I felt very saddened," said Ismael's grandmother.

The family says they are not angry with the driver, but they do ask they he or she come forward.

Troopers describes the car as a dark colored Dodge or Chrysler with tinted windows. Troopers say the car would have damage to the right headlight.  If you have any information on the driver or the car you are asked to call Highway Patrol at (800) 344-7411.

There's a memorial for Ismael from 5 to 10 p.m. Monday at Iglesia Bautista Sinai on Whitfield Road in Mount Olive and Tuesday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at J.B. Rhodes Funeral Home in Goldsboro.

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