Couple helps troopers nab man who hit boy in hit-and-run accident
Brandon sustained minor injuries in the accident.
Joe Coelho and his girlfriend Kacie Finley helped authorities nab Cooley.
SMYRNA, Tenn. -
A couple helped troopers nab a suspect in a hit-and-run involving a six-year-old child in Smyrna over the weekend.
The accident involving Jan Cooley happened on Polk Drive Sunday night around 7:30 p.m. while Brandon Castillo was outside riding his scooter.
Castillo’s mother was outside with her son and witnessed the whole incident.
“He [Cooley] got out, looked, realized what he did, jumped in the car, and headed off,” said Victoria Castillo. “I was frantic. I didn’t know what to think. I was like, ‘Are you kidding me? Are you seriously kidding me that you hit a kid and you are taking off?’”
Joe Coelho and his girlfriend Kacie Finley told Nashville’s News 2 they were driving through the neighborhood at the time of the accident and saw Cooley get into his car while two men chased after him on foot.
“It was that moment I was like, ‘Joe, go get him,’ so he put it in reverse and we chased after him,” Finley recalled.
The couple called 911 and followed Cooley to the Chrisman Motel in Murfreesboro where the 52-year-old man was later taken into custody.
“I made Joe stay in the car because I was nervous. We got a little closer to his car and I just wrote down, in my phone, I put down the license plate and his description,” said Finley.
Within minutes, authorities surrounded Cooley’s motel room, where the suspect had locked himself inside.
“We placed a small strip of explosives which are used for opening locks. A quick blast pushed the locks out,” said Trooper Scott Pollard with the Special Operations Unit.
Trooper Pollard said it would have been difficult to locate and arrest Cooley so quickly had it not been for Finley and Coelho.
“I was just trying to do the right thing at the right time and what anybody else, what I would want them to do for me,” said Coelho.
Castillo told Nashville’s News 2 he is grateful for Coelho and his girlfriend.
“Thank you for being brave and for catching him,” he said.
Authorities have since said Cooley has admitted to drinking and smoking marijuana at a cook-out prior to the accident.
He is charged with felony aggravated assault, felony leaving the scene of an injury crash, driving on a revoked license, simple possession and possession of paraphernalia.
Authorities said he has previous DUI charges.
Cooley has since been released on bond.
Castillo was transported to a local hospital where he was treated and released.