Kershaw County: man runs over and kills moped rider for crack

Willie Thomas Starnes

KERSHAW COUNTY, SC (WACH)- The Kershaw County Sheriff's Office said a crime that they once thought was a hit-and-run case is now a case of murder.

Last Saturday, Kershaw County Sheriff Jim Matthews said 67-year-old Alan Thomas Robinson was riding his moped along Freeman Road in Bethune. Robinson said he heard a vehicle accelerate behind him before he was hit. He later told investigators he was knocked off his moped by a Chevrolet Tahoe driven by Willie Thomas Starnes. Robinson accused Starnes and an accomplice loading his moped into Starnes' Tahoe.

A few of Robinson's family members who live near the scene found him in the middle of the road. Robinson was taken to Kershaw Health in Camden. Doctors there decided his injuries were too severe to treat in Camden, so the they sent him to Palmetto Health Richland, where he died from his injuries.

The Highway Patrol began the investigation as a hit and run, but later decided it was an intentional crime of assault. Acting on a tip, a state trooper and Kershaw County investigator went to the scene on Monday where they found Willie Thomas Starnes walking along the road near the scene.

Starnes told the investigator and the trooper he intentionally struck Robinson with his vehicle with the intention of stealing it and selling it for money to buy crack cocaine.

Kershaw County arrested and charged Starnes with murder and armed robbery. Robinson's moped was found and recovered in Lancaster County.

Matthews said Starnes is not cooperating with the investigation.