Police chief: Arrest near in connection to pedestrian’s death

Published 2:06 pm Thursday, December 7, 2017

NATCHEZ — Police plan Friday to arrest a man who allegedly struck and killed a pedestrian crossing Seargent S. Prentiss Drive last month, Natchez Police Chief Walter Armstrong said today.

Armstrong said police anticipate the alleged driver, who Armstrong named as Gary White, will turn himself in to police Friday. White will be charged for the incident, though Armstrong would not disclose what the charges would be.

“That will be decided by tomorrow.” Armstrong said.

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The department had been waiting on the return of results from the Mississippi State Crime Lab to determine whether the driver was under the influence at the time of the incident.

Armstrong said the department has now received the results, though he would not reveal them until Friday.

The incident occurred late Nov. 11, when 32-year-old Meagan Gunter Smith reportedly crossed the highway near Walmart and was struck by a GMC Yukon Denali.

An eyewitness reportedly told police he saw Gunter Smith run across the road before she was hit.

The driver then allegedly parked his car in the Walmart parking lot. Police said the driver had claimed to have thought he hit a deer.

At the time, Armstrong said investigators suspected the driver might have been under the influence of alcohol, but no charges were levied until now.

“Additional information will be forthcoming no later than tomorrow (Friday) pertaining to Mr. White,” Armstrong said.

Barry Gunter, the father of Gunter Smith, said the arrest could certainly not heal the scars left from the incident, but would at least offer some sense of closure.

“It does make me feel like … it could help the family a little bit,” Gunter said.