Local man arrested in connection with weekend hit and run

Published 9:26 am Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Joshua Branche

Joshua Branche

Police arrested a Carter County man in connection with a vehicle accident that sent two pedestrians to the hospital over the weekend, but the case is still under investigation officers said.
Officers of the Elizabethton Police Department arrested Joshua Branche, 35, 1523 Milligan Highway, No.1, Johnson City, and charged him with filing a false report.
On Friday evening around 7:20 p.m., officers were sent to the 1200 block of Milligan Highway after a 911 caller said a car had struck two pedestrians and then fled the scene.
When officers arrived at the scene, they found a man lying unresponsive in the ditch along Milligan Highway. The man, who was identified as 46-year-old James Wilder, was being attended to by 37-year-old Rebecca Lovell, who had also been struck by the car.
Both Wilder and Lovell were transported to a local hospital for treatment, where Wilder was listed in critical condition and Lovell was listed as “stable.” Lovell was later released following her treatment, but on Monday Wilder was still receiving treatment at the hospital, EPD Capt. Joy Shoun said.
The police department’s Specialized Traffic Accident Reconstruction Team is investigating the crash, Shoun said.
“During the course of investigation it was determined that Ms. Lovell and Mr. Wilder were walking east bound on Milligan Highway,” Shoun said. “Ms. Lovell was walking behind Mr. Wilder on the shoulder of the roadway when she was struck by the passenger side mirror of a green Honda Sedan traveling east bound. The vehicle then struck Mr. Wilder, causing him to become airborne and coming to rest in the road side ditch along the side of Milligan Highway.”
Evidence at the scene indicated the car that struck the two pedestrians was a dark green colored Honda, Shoun said, adding it was suspected the Honda would have possible front end damage as well as be a missing side-view mirror on the passenger side.
Police then began searching the area around the crash for the vehicle.
“Officers located a green Honda Accord with the passenger side mirror missing, and the windshield was busted with pieces of glass lying in the interior,” Shoun said, adding the car was found in the parking lot of the Milligan View Apartments.
After finding the vehicle, officers were unable to locate the driver. The vehicle was then towed to the department’s secured storage lot for evidence collection.
During the investigation, officers learned that Joshua Branche had been in possession of the car at the time of the crash and located him at his residence on Milligan Highway, about a mile away from where the pedestrians were struck .
“Branche was questioned regarding the incident,” Shoun said. “Based on statements made by Branche in response to officers conducting the criminal investigation, Branche was arrested and charged with “False Reporting.”
Following his arrest, Branche was taken to the Carter County Detention Center, where he was later released after posting bond.
Branche is scheduled to appear in Carter County General Sessions Court on August 10.
The investigation into the crash is on going at this time, Shoun said.

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