Garden City, MI – A Michigan man has been arrested in connection with the hit-and-run killing of Wayne County Sergeant Lee Smith, who was fatally struck by a vehicle while he was out jogging on Tuesday morning.
Desmond Robinson, 47, was apprehended at approximately 5 a.m. on Thursday, just one week before Sgt. Smith’s funeral, The Detroit News reported.
Robinson has been charged with failure to stop at an injury accident scene causing death, tampering with evidence, and reckless driving causing death, according to the Detroit Free Press.
During his arraignment on Saturday, Robinson dropped his head as the circumstances of the charges against him were read aloud to the court, WDIV footage showed.
According to court testimony, Robinson admitted to investigators that he struck Sgt. Smith with his 2012 Buick Enclave, then “panicked” and fled the scene.
He said he also attempted to clean the vehicle and sought out replacement parts to repair the front-end damage caused during the collision.
The incident occurred at approximately 10:30 a.m. on Aug. 14, as off-duty Sgt. Smith, 55, was jogging along Hines Drive, Hometown Life reported.
According to witnesses, a black SUV with round headlights was traveling eastbound when it suddenly crossed over onto the westbound side of the road, WXYZ reported.
The vehicle collided with Sgt. Smith, then dragged the officer for 50 or 60 yards, The Detroit News reported.
The driver, later identified as Robinson, then continued driving eastbound, according to Hometown Life. One individual reported having followed the vehicle after the crash, but ultimately lost sight of it.
Sgt. Smith, a 26-year veteran of the department, was pronounced dead at the scene, WDIV reported.
He had filed for retirement just days before, and planned to close the chapter on his law enforcement career on Oct. 1, according to WXYZ.
"By all accounts, Sgt. Smith was a dedicated, passionate, and skilled member of law enforcement who was going to retire soon," Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy said in a statement, according to The Detroit News. "In the blink of an eye, the alleged actions of this defendant destroyed the lives of his family, friends, fellow officers, and the many others he had yet to positively influence."
Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon said that Sgt. Smith headed the agency’s mounted unit, and that he worked with the Special Response Team and road patrol in the past, Hometown Life reported.
“He had a very storied career,” the sheriff Napoleon noted. “Well respected. Well loved.”
"He was truly one of our best and an inspiration to all who knew him,” Wayne County Executive Warren Evans said. “My sincere condolences go out to his family for this very sudden and painful loss.”
Sgt. Smith will be laid to rest on Thursday. He is survived by his wife and 28-year-old son, the Detroit Free Press reported.
During his initial court appearance, Robinson told the judge that he works part-time doing spot jobs as a handyman, but that he has been receiving disability income for the past three years after being shot in both hands and his abdomen.
He said he was charged for cocaine possession in the past.
According to Sheriff Napoleon, a member of the community called in a tip that led to Robinson’s arrest, WXYZ reported. The sheriff said that person should be eligible for $15,000 in reward money.
Robinson is being held without bond, and is due back in court on Aug. 30.