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Driver charged with felony hit-and-run

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Police found drug residue and drug paraphernalia inside the vehicle.

By Christopher Brooke, Reporter

HILLSVILLE — An alleged hit-and-run driver on Interstate 77 faces felony charges after striking a tractor-trailer near the 11 mile marker and leaving the scene Sunday.
Virginia State Police Trooper Bryan Phipps was able to get the at-fault driver — identified as Tommy Mack Small, 57, of North Augusta, S.C. — to pull off onto Exit 8.
Even before the accident, other motorists had called in reports of a reckless driver heading south on the interstate, Phipps said. Reports had described a 2005 white Dodge pickup almost hitting other vehicles and going off the driving lanes.
That vehicle then rear-ended a 2009 Freightliner hauling a tanker, the trooper said. He did not know what kind of load was inside the tanker.
The commercial vehicle was driven by Gary Schultz from Claremont, N.C., and was licensed to Cargo Transporters.
The passenger vehicle struck the tractor-trailer in the rear bumper bar, Phipps said. The pickup went into the ditch off the side of the southbound lanes at the 11 mile marker and then fled.
Phipps intercepted the suspect vehicle at the 9.5 mile marker, and it pulled into a gravel lot off of Exit 8.
"He advised he probably went to sleep," Phipps recalled.
Small also told the trooper he had arranged to pull off the interstate with the other driver after the accident, but that has not been corroborated by others at the scene of the accident, the trooper said.
The trooper found a drug residue and drug paraphernalia inside the vehicle. The residue has been sent to the lab for identification.
The paraphernalia consisted of needles and a spoon, Phipps said.
The trooper charged Small with felony hit and run with injury, possession of drug paraphernalia, driving under the influence of drugs, refusal of blood test, reckless driving, no license, no insurance and two equipment violations.
Small and passenger Richard Dillow were taken to Twin County Regional Hospital after the accident. Dillow refused treatment there.
The tractor-trailer had an estimated $1,000 in damage.
Small is being held without bond at the New River Valley Regional Jail, pending his first court hearing.