Raleigh police charged William Creamont Beary with felony hit and run involving death or serious injury.
RALEIGH, N.C. -
Raleigh police have arrested a man in connection with the hit-and-run death of a 16-year-old girl Thursday night in Raleigh.
Justice Yasmeem Smith, a junior at Wake Forest High School, was hit twice at 9:40 p.m. on N. New Hope Road. The driver of the second vehicle stopped, but the first driver took off.
Smith was transported to WakeMed where she passed away.
On Friday, Raleigh police arrested and charged William Creamont Beary, 36, of 5056 Babbling Brook Dr., with felony hit and run involving death or serious injury. He was taken into custody at his residence without further incident, police said.
Police say Beary left the scene after hitting Smith. A second car then hit Smith, but the driver of that car stopped.
Police said Beary was driving a 2005 Dodge minivan. Beary was convicted in 2012 of possession with intent to sell.
Friday's news set off shock waves among her friends.
"I love you so much ... I will never forget about you . Rest easy babygirl ♥" tweeted one friend.
"She was a great person. She just wanted to see people happy. Smart, beautiful, and sweet," tweeted Cecilia Jade.
"She was the first friend I made at Wake Forest High," said Anyia Sturgues, Smith's best friend.
Sturgues set up a memorial along New Hope Rd.
"She'd make everybody smile and just light up any room," said Sturgues, "You could have the worst day and she'd just make it better, and I loved her so much."
But what happened left Sturgues in tears.
"Why wouldn't the person stop? Why would they keep on driving?" she told WNCN. "Why wouldn't they stop and help her?"
Another friend described how multiple police cars and rescue units rushed to the scene after she was hit.
A Wake County Public Schools spokeswoman said counselors will be available at the school when classes resume Wednesday.