By Carol A. Gasser Moore
THOMASVILLE, Georgia – Khalil Amarion Pugh (18) has been identified and arrested for a deadly building crash in Thomasville yesterday. He is alleged to be the automobile driver responsible for a crash into the Pharmacy Side entrance of Thomasville’s Walmart store which killed one person and injured a number of others.
Georgia State Patrol has identified the victim, Kenneth Kennedy, who was from Monticello. An identified woman was also reported to be injured at the scene. There may have been others, but they are unconfirmed at this time.
The Georgia State Patrol (GPS) has stated that the event happened just before noon Wednesday. The Walmart is located at the intersection of U.S. 19. GPS reports indicate that Khalil Pugh sped through the store’s parking lot in a gray Toyota Camry. Pugh’s speed has been labeled as fast, but the exact speed he was traveling is still unknown at this time and is being investigated.
GSP Sgt. 1st Class John Vanlandingham has stated, “The vehicle struck a person, who was patronizing the business here, as he was exiting. We do have the driver in custody at this time and an investigation is underway.”
The GSP’s initial review of a surveillance video taken by a Walmart security camera indicated that Pugh was driving his car well over the parking lots speed limit. Persons at the scene described the car as “zooming” past them just before impacting store’s entrance.
Law enforcement officers investigating the crash also indicate that store’s surveillance video indicates there were two occupants inside the vehicle at the time of the crash. GSP records indicate that Pugh, clearly the driver, tried to run away after the accident. Their records also indicate that bystanders inside the Walmart apprehended and detained Pugh until law enforcement officers arrived at the scene.
Trooper Vanlandingham has said, “We’re trying to piece this all together as to why he was traveling that speed in the parking lot. We have very good video footage, we’re talking to witnesses and an investigation is underway at this time. As we learn more information we can give that information out.”
GSP records indicate that both Pugh and his passenger were taken into custody after the incident. It’s been reported that official are questioning vehicle occupants as investigators worked to determine exactly what happened. Pugh’s passenger has not yet been identified.
It appears that Pugh is now facing multiple charges. The charges include Vehicular homicide (1st degree), Reckless driving, as well as Driving without a license.
Walmart Store officials have extended the following statement, “We’re heartbroken to learn what has happened, and our sympathies go out to everyone affected. We’ll continue working closely with local law enforcement as they investigate this incident.”
Thomasville Police has posted a request to stay away from the store while they investigate. Yesterday, Walmart was closed until further notice by Thomasville Police Department. There has been no update on the store’s open or closed status.
The Lanier County News will update the story as information is made available.