PULASKI COUNTY, Ark – After months of waiting, a Jacksonville family receives answers after their loved one was killed in a hit-and-run in September.
Officials with the Arkansas State Police said 72-year-old Candace Conners is facing charges in the hit-and-run death of 22-year-old Lawrence “Gage” Gates.
ASP said Conners turned herself in to the Pulaski County District Court on Feb. 17. She is facing a charge of leaving the scene of an accident involving physical injury or death.
According to ASP fatal crash summary reports, the crash happened on State Highway 107 on Sep. 2, 2022, at 7:43 a.m.
Gates’ mother Amber Hernandez said it hurts knowing her son will “forever be 22.”
She said since the incident happened, she has been waiting for the day the police would call her with who was responsible.
“Every time I would get a call from them [police] I would think this is it, this is it,” Hernandez said.
Investigators said that Gates was struck by a vehicle located in Cabot. Officials said that evidence collected from the vehicle confirmed that DNA on the vehicle belonged to Conners
Hernandez said when the police told her about Conners, she had a mix of emotions.
“Overwhelmed, shocked, sad, just all of these emotions put in one,” Hernandez said.
She said she often visits where he died at least 3 times a week, also remembering where the stain of his blood was in the grass.
“I’m kind of in shock that it [the grass where Gate’s blood was] has not grown back, it hurts,” Hernandez said.
Gates’ grandmother Pam Smith said she wishes she could hug him one more time and see his face.
“[I miss] his smile, his dimple, he had the prettiest dimple in his face,” Smith said.
Hernandez said she wishes she could have had the chance to say a final goodbye to Gates, but she will do everything she can to get him justice.
Authorities also said the case file was submitted to the prosecutor’s office last week, which will start the review process and initiate court proceedings.