UPDATE 2:35PM – Jeffrey Lavar Williams was taken into custody this afternoon after showing up at the Johnston County Courthouse in Smithfield for a court appearance on a previous traffic charge. Williams was immediately taken into custody by Johnston County deputies. He has been charged with felony hit and run and driving on a revoked license.
PRINCETON – The State Highway Patrol has released the name of a suspect wanted for a deadly hit and run accident that claimed the life of a beloved 83 year-old Johnston County woman.
83 year-old Christine Toler Willoughby was attempting to check her mailbox in front of her home on Old Cornwallis Road near Princeton around 5:00pm last Friday when she was struck and killed by a vehicle that never stopped. An EMS crew pronounced Willoughby dead at the scene.
Today (Wednesday), the Highway Patrol released additional details about the deadly accident and the name of the driver they are searching for.
First Sgt. R.B. Maynard said troopers are actively searching for 20 year-old Jeffrey Lavar Williams who is known to frequent the Princeton, Selma, and Smithfield areas. The vehicle that struck and killed Willoughby was later found abandoned behind a residence in the Princeton city limits, about two miles away from the scene of the collision. A resident heard a noise in his backyard and discovered the parked and abandoned vehicle, which did not belong at the residence. The resident called 911 reporting the abandoned vehicle to Princeton Police.
The vehicle was linked to the hit and run accident that killed Christine Willoughby. The Highway Patrol said there is no direct connection between the registered owner of the vehicle and the resident who located it in his back yard.
The suspect troopers said was driving the hit and run vehicle, Jeffrey Lavar Williams, is described as a black male, 20 years of age, 5 foot 9, 150 pounds. His last known address was in the 600 block of White Street in Selma. Williams also has a connection to Second Street in Princeton. He is also known to frequent the Smithfield area. Authorities do not know what type of vehicle Williams may be operating, but believe he is still in the Princeton, Selma or Smithfield areas.
Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Jeffrey Lavar Williams is asked to contact the NC Highway Patrol District Office at 919-934-2186 or the Johnston County Sheriff’s Office at 919-989-5000. Callers may remain anonymous.