NEW HANOVER COUNTY, N.C. (WECT) - A New Hanover County man will likely face a murder charge after he allegedly hit and killed a woman with his truck while he was intoxicated.
Austin Taylor Hall, 30, has been initially charged with driving while impaired and felony hit and run in connection with the death of Jannon Gail Rogers, 45, late Monday night.
According to the N.C. State Highway Patrol, troopers responded to Hillside Road off Carolina Beach Road around 10:50 p.m. after receiving reports of a fatal hit and run involving a pedestrian.
Troopers say they found Rogers’ body lying in the roadway. She was taken to New Hanover Regional Medical Center where she was pronounced dead.
Highway Patrol says evidence at the scene led troopers to the suspect vehicle, a 2013 Chevrolet pickup, and Hall, the alleged driver.
Hall was booked in jail on a $20,000 bond. Charges of hit and run serious injury/death, death by motor vehicle, and reckless driving wanton disregard were added later in the day.
During his first court appearance Tuesday afternoon, prosecutors said officers interviewed Hall’s wife who said they had gotten into a “pretty severe” argument at their house. She says Hall, who was intoxicated, drove off, and she heard him hit something with his truck.
Hall’s blood-alcohol concentration was .18, over twice the legal limit in North Carolina, nearly seven hours after the fatal collision, prosecutors said.
Prosecutors added that “he’s clearly a danger to the community” and that an upgraded charge of second-degree murder was forthcoming.
To illustrate his “danger,” prosecutors said that on at least four separate occasions since January his wife has called 911 about his drinking and driving. Hall has two prior DWIs — one in Missouri where he just got off probation in April and a prior DWI conviction in New Hanover County eight years ago.
Prosecutors requested the judge raise Hall’s bond to $250,000 and asked for a series of pretrial release conditions, including electronic monitoring and house arrest.
When asked by the judge about the prosecutors’ demand for an increased bond, Hall said “I only had that one prior DUI, I’ve gone to a couple rehabs and I’ve definitely wanted to get into that. I didn’t know what I was doing last night. I completely messed up. I don’t think that should be $250,000. I absolutely think it should stay the same and I absolutely promise that I will do everything I possibly can to make sure I do whatever I can in this matter.”
The judge eventually set Hall’s bond at $150,000 with the aforementioned pretrial release conditions, saying the $250,000 bond that the District Attorney’s Office wanted was outside the guidelines for his current charges.
Hall is also not allowed to drive a motor vehicle if he makes bond.
His next court date is July 9.