Ellis County Sheriff’s Office deputies took Brett Colter Soward, 26, of Temple into custody Saturday. Soward’s arrest is in connection with a hit-and-run fatality that took place in Hillsboro Friday morning.
At about 6:21 a.m., Texas Department of Public Safety Trooper Tony Miller was dispatched to a hit-and-run involving a pick-up that struck a pedestrian at the intersection of State Highway 22 and County Road 2415, according to the arrest warrant affidavit. Miller arrived at the scene at 6:30 a.m.
Miller reported that when he arrived at the scene he observed a body on the south side of the highway. He spoke to witnesses, who stated that a silver or white pickup stuck the pedestrian and continued without stopping to render aid. While at the scene, Miller found pieces of the truck’s passenger side mirror that struck the pedestrian. The mirror was able to be pieced back together and matched a 2010 or newer Dodge Ram pick-up body style.
The Hill County Sherriff’s Office notified Miller that a pickup matching the description had been stolen out of Red Oak and pursued by Hillsboro police.
Through his investigation Miller was able to contact Soward. During their phone conversation Soward told Miller that he struck the person on State Highway 22 but didn’t stop because he was in a stolen vehicle and did not want to go back to jail.
Miller asked Soward if he would come in for questioning. Soward told Miller that he would not go back to jail and was going to run.
In a conversation on Saturday, Soward told Miller that he was going to leave town. Miller had received information that Soward had weapons and was not going down without a fight.
Ellis County Sheriff’s Office officials had received information from the Hill County Sheriff’s Office about Soward’s location Saturday. Ellis County deputies were dispatched to the 700 block of Risinger Road in Ferris to check it out.
Ellis County Cpl. Grant Cousins stated he observed a vehicle matching the description in his affidavit submitted for probable cause determination. Several men that were outside fled inside a residence when they saw Cousins patrol vehicle. A man was sitting inside the vehicle left the vehicle and went inside the residence.
Cousins stated this person was later identified as Soward. Cousins stated he called out to the people inside the residence. Soward and several other individuals then appeared from the residence. Soward was taken into custody without incident at about 9:30 p.m. At the time of his arrest, it was found that Soward was currently out on parole.
Upon further investigation of the vehicle, Cousins found a loaded shotgun sitting by the driver’s door next to where Soward was sitting.
The license plates on the vehicle were found to have been switched and were stolen from Red Oak.
A clear vial that contained a crystal like substance was also found in the vehicle. The substance was tested at the scene and identified as methamphetamines.
Soward was booked into the Wayne McCollum Detention Center at 1:55 a.m. Sunday.
He has been charged with accident involving death, unlawful possession of a fire arm by a felon, possession of a controlled substance less than 1 gram, theft of a motor vehicle greater than or equal to $1,500 but less than $20,000 and theft of property greater than $50 but less than $500.
Soward’s bonds total $131,000, and he remains in custody at the detention center.