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Suspect in hit-and-run death of Tennessee officer in custody

February 25, 2019
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Lt. Heather Williams with the Chattanooga Police Department S.W.A.T. stands on Port Drive in Hixson, a neighborhood of Chattanooga, Tenn., Sunday, Feb. 24, 2019. The vehicle suspected to be involved in the hit-and-run of Chattanooga Police Officer Nicholas Galinger that occurred Saturday night was found in the Port Drive neighborhood Sunday evening. (Erin O. Smith/Chattanooga Times Free Press via AP)
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Lt. Heather Williams with the Chattanooga Police Department S.W.A.T. stands on Port Drive in Hixson, a neighborhood of Chattanooga, Tenn., Sunday, Feb. 24, 2019. The vehicle suspected to be involved in the hit-and-run of Chattanooga Police Officer Nicholas Galinger that occurred Saturday night was found in the Port Drive neighborhood Sunday evening. (Erin O. Smith/Chattanooga Times Free Press via AP)

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) — The suspect in the hit-and-run death of a Tennessee officer was taken into custody Monday morning, police said.

Janet Elaine Hinds, 54, turned herself in hours after the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation put her on its Top Ten Most Wanted list, the Chattanooga Police Department announced on Twitter .

The agency said Hinds was wanted for vehicular homicide in the death of Nicholas Galinger. The 38-year-old officer was hit Saturday night while he was inspecting a manhole cover that had water flowing from it due to heavy rain.

News outlets report a police affidavit said Hinds was speeding, crossed a double-yellow line and hit a sign warning of an exposed manhole cover before hitting Galinger. She then drove away from the scene, police said.

Court records show she faces several other charges including reckless driving, leaving the scene of an accident and violation of a traffic control device.

In a court appearance Monday, prosecutors argued for a high bond but Hinds’ attorney, Ben McGowan, said that she has strong ties to the community, raised her family there and is the Soddy-Daisy postmaster. The judge set bond at $300,000.

Galinger graduated from the police academy last month and was struck while on a call with his field training officer.

Police recovered a Honda CR-V from Hinds’ residence on Sunday. The vehicle had front-end damage.

Chattanooga Police Chief David Roddy said the community “lost not just an officer. We lost a son, a father, a friend, and a protector.”

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