MARSHALL, TX (KSLA) - The crash report filed in connection with the Marshall radio news personality accused of hitting a woman walking in the street last month reveals police strongly suspected the driver had been drinking.
In spite of that suspicion, 33-year-old Ashli Dansby was never tested for having alcohol in her system.
Police say Dansby struck 49-year-old Evelyn Mallard with her Toyota just after 1 a.m. Saturday, July 18 on Caddo Street and Victory Drive in Marshall.
According to the Marshall Police Department crash report, it happened as Dansby was heading eastbound on Victory Dr. and merged into the center turn lane to turn left on to Caddo Street when she struck Mallard. While there are no sidewalks in this area, the officer noted that Mallard "was not walking on the left side of the highway as she should have been."
Mallard's boyfriend, who was reportedly walking ahead of her, told the officer that the Toyota stopped momentarily after striking Mallard and then continued on to Caddo St. while "accelerating heavily."
The officer goes on to note that he was unable to get any information from the driver of the Toyota "because she fled the scene and refused to speak to officers when she was located shortly after the collision."
"At this point in the investigation there is reason to believe that the driver of Unit 1 [Dansby] had been drinking alcoholic beverages earlier in the night and that she may not have exercised due care to avoid the collision with Unit 2 [Mallard]."
The report also notes that Mallard had been drinking, and that may also have been a contributing factor.
Although police were called to her home shortly after it happened, a warrant was not issued for her arrest until 3 days later. The KMHT radio show host and News Director turned herself in the following day a third-degree felony charge of failure to stop and render aid. She was released on bond a few hours later.
Marshall Police Chief Jesus "Eddie" Campa explained in a news conference on the day of Dansby's arrest that the district attorney was consulted that night, and that the officers "couldn't establish that she was behind the wheel, so we didn't have the probable cause to go any forward towards obtaining a blood drawn warrant."
A statement the same day from Harrison County DA Coke Solomon reiterated that explanation in detail and went on to say that the MPD would continue to investigate the case to determine if a case of intoxicated assault will be presented to the Grand Jury or if the case will move forward as a felony hit and run.
Because Dansby's husband used to work in the Harrison County District Attorney's Office, Solomon also recused himself from the case on the day she was arrested.
Upshur Co DA Billy Byrd has been appointed to prosecute the case in Solomon's place.
Byrd says he has not yet received the case to review it, as the investigation is still under way.