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UPDATE: Woman charged in hit and run that killed 1 child, injured 2 siblings

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) -- Police have arrested a woman following a deadly hit and run late Sunday night on Highway 72, just east of Memorial Parkway.  One child was killed and his two sisters were critically hurt.

Photo of Latonya Denise Haley from an arrest in 2011. (Madison County Metro Jail)

Photo of Latonya Denise Haley from an arrest in 2011. (Madison County Metro Jail)

Latonya Denise Haley, 31, is in custody. She is charged with vehicular homicide, felony leaving the scene of an accident and two counts of second-degree assault.  She has several past arrests.

Emergency crews were called to the crash site, Highway 72 East and North Park Drive, just after 11:00 p.m. Sunday.  The children were walking along the side of Highway 72 with an adult when a dark-colored SUV veered off the road and hit the children. The driver left the scene.

Police took Haley in custody mid-day Monday for questioning and officially charged her around 4 p.m.

The boy, age 8, was rushed to Huntsville Hospital where he was pronounced dead.  Two girls, ages 10 and 13, were critically hurt.  Police have not released their names.

Officers say the three children were walking home with a family member.  That person was not hurt.

Highway 72 East was shut down while authorities cleared the scene.


  • Thunderball

    The SUV dtiver was probably texting or drunk and should spend a long, long time in prison when caught and convicted.

  • Kimberly

    I pray they catch this person quickly. How do you run over someone, especially children and just leave? Many prayers for this family. And these are super sweet kids!

  • Nuclear Mike

    Please everyone cross these dangerous highways at a designated spot and with a traffic light to stop the traffic…the driver had the responsibility to stop and render aid…so sad for the young children.

  • MrsD

    The little boy was in my little girls class we just ate at his familys restaurant and he was there! An innocent young life gone too soon. Shame on the cowardly driver for not stopping to render help to these children who were left in the road like they were road kill!!!! Justice will be served when you are found!

  • DBerry

    Phone location services will tie whoever did this to thr scene of the accident. It will take some time for investigstors but you will be caught. Better to surrender first.

    • Branko Pezdi

      They weren’t crossing the road and they were accompanied by adult family members.

      From another news site:
      “It happened before 11 p.m. on eastbound Highway 72 East, just east of Memorial Parkway. The victims, along with other family members, were walking eastbound on the shoulder of the roadway when a dark colored sports utility vehicle veered right and struck the three children.

      Witnesses say the family was walking home, like they always do, from the restaurant they own, Meteor Buffet, when the children were hit. Other family members, including at least one parent, were with the children, and they were not injured.”

    • Jaybo

      This family was not crossing the road, they were walking along the road from the restaurant the family owns to their house. According to googlemaps the entire walk is only 1/3rd of a mile and does not require crossing US72 or the Parkway.

  • T.C.K.

    They are wonderful children , my families prayers go out to them in this very trying time.. as a frequent patron of their families restaurant , I have seen the kids grow up.. and really great children , I pray for the 2 surviving little girls , and that the family will find strength to help them in their mourning of their son… God Bless!

    • John

      I agree! I always eat there and have been helped at the register many times by the oldest daughter. They are a great family, and I always enjoy doing business with them.

    • Old Sarge

      Amen to that T. C. K. Well said !!! The Zhang’s are a wonderful family – so friendly, kind, & generous to everyone. They were especially supportive of my wife Linda during the time which she suffered from terminal lung cancer. I pray for the Lord to provide comfort to them during their time of grief & I definitely plan on going to the Redstone Federal Credit Union tomorrow & making a donation to the Zhang Family Fund to help them with their funeral & hospital expenses.

  • T.C.K.

    The police have now found the Culprit and have seized the Suv, from a home on Huntsville, street in North Huntsville. approximately 25 minutes ago.

  • LS

    Thsi is terribly sad and my heart and prayers go out to the family. They are loving kind and serve great food. I hope that the community can pull together for the family and give them the strength they need to push forward . It is always devastating to lose a life but so much more when it is a child. I do not think that finding the driver will give them anymore closure or ease any of the pain but it will bring justice . I dont know how the family will be able to go on or open back up. could you imagine going to work everyday where everyone knows the pain you are enduring ? Could you imagine how many times a day you would hear how sorry people are for your loss ? It would be unbearable .

  • superman01

    She was probably high as a Georgia pine and that’s why she didn’t stop. No telling how many other THUGS was with her!! Let someone run over her as punishment…..

      • Jessica

        On our dime, no less!!! Crack head on welfare plows down hardworking family. This family is the type that works their butts off so women like her can be drugged up on welfare.

      • kip gambino

        Yes Jessica, unfortunately on our dime. I would have suggested an immediate Firing Squad, but I know people nowadays consider that “Too Inhumane.”

  • Chris Newton

    Prayers for the family of these children. My family frequented their restaurant every week, and my children attended school with them. They are wonderful people who reached out to us when our daughter was ill. My deepest sympathies to them for the loss of their son, Weixi (name has been published elsewhere) and for the speedy and full recovery of their two daughters.

  • T.C.K.

    I’m sure everyone can agree it is a wonderful thing to learn that the two girls were physically well enough to go home from the hospital.. A wonderful family , with fantastic children.. it is absolutely heartbreaking to see the family in so much pain, I hope at least in a small way it comforts them to see the love the community has for them… and may god give them strength!

  • Erza Scarlet

    The girl that was injured the 13 year old is my best friend. 😭😭😭 I’m so sorry for what happened to you, Welling.

  • soldier

    someone on here said the child that was killed parents own a restaurant. so i don’t understand why they were walking down the busy highway 72 at 11 oclock at night with or without an adult. if the parents own a business then they should own a car. i say arrest the driver and the parents or gaurdian. my god people wake up. can’t you be more responsible with children. they had no business being out that late on a school night anyways and surely had no business walking down a well traveled highway in the dark. is it the childrens fault…no but the parents should be charged as well.

    • Jessica

      You couldn’t be more wrong. Did you even read the article? The driver veered off the road and hit them, and you somehow want to blame the parents???

      • soldier

        i read the article or else i would not have commented. 11 oclock at night walking down the side of highway 72 hit and run driver veers off road and strikes these three children killing one of them critically injuring the other 2. the driver was totally wrong for hitting and running but what then if she had stopped well then what would she still be this sorry piece of scum. what then of the parents…where were they. the driver is sorry scum for running but if them children would have been where they should have been…in a safe place at 11 at night like normal folks then this would have never happened so yes yes yes the parents in my opinion should be held accountable for neglect. i don’t have the answers all i am going by is what the article said. lock up that driver and hold the parents accountable and if there were a curfew in place well then them children would still be alive. a curfew can’t replace common sense.

    • huntsville

      I agree with you. Why would the parents have young kids in the restaurant at that time of night; school night at that. All of the young kids had no business in the restaurant as if they are old enough to work there. One person has stated the kids worked the register!!! Violation off the top people!! No child should have to be up that late until their parents close their family owned restaurant! ! Gees Parents!! We know some people don’t like to pay for childcare; in this case the children were better off at home. I fault both parties

      • JA

        You seem like the type that would be all about freedom and liberty, while simultaneously judging someone else without knowing any of the details. Who knows why they were walking? You don’t. They may have had a good reason.

        In the end — it doesn’t matter! This is an article about a piece of scum human that ran over a family and killed a child. If you absolutely have to point fingers, you’d be wise to point at the person with a long criminal history. Even then, you should just accept that you don’t know the details for either side, and should hop off your soapbox.

    • JA

      Yes, let’s institute a curfew. Kids should not be walking along a road under adult supervision for any reason whatsoever. Let freedom ring!

      • soldier

        boy oh boy having that adult supervision really did them alot of good didn’t it. what happened to the adult supervisor. a curfew can’t replace common sense and just because we here in this country have true freedom to do many things sometimes doing those things don’t make no sense. dhr should get involved.

  • Brenda Patterson

    $15,000 bail for murder and leaving the scene of an accident? It’s probably so low because the victims were Chinese. Remember that white boy driving at high speed on Weatherly Road and slamming into all the vehicles and leaving the scene of the crime, and a few minutes later slamming into other vehicles on Bailey Cove Road resulting in the death of a young girl? He got off “scott-free.” The victim was female. The state doesn’t value minorities and women, and it’s criminal justice system is a testimonial to that statement. When will Alabama get the message that all people are equal under the Constitution but, then again, Alabama probably believes the Constitution to be a federal attempt to control the state.

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