Grand jury gets case of driver charged in hit-and-run that killed 75-year-old in Madison


Erica Nail, (Courtesy: Madison County Jail)

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- A woman charged in the hit-and-run death of a 75-year-old pedestrian in Madison had her case sent to a grand today by a Madison County judge.

During the preliminary hearing for Erica Nail, 26, a Madison Police Department traffic investigator testified a headlight fragment found near the body of victim Carol Ann Arey, fit perfectly into the damaged headlight of Nail’s car.

Nail is charged with leaving the scene of an accident with injuries. The case is now headed to a Madison County grand jury after Madison County District Judge Linda Coats found there was enough evidence against Nail for the case to go forward.

Madison County Assistant District Attorney Shauna Barnett said Nail could face additional charges depending on the still-pending results of her toxicology test.

Madison Police Department officer Derrick Campbell testified about the department’s investigation during Wednesday’s hearing.

Campbell said Carol Ann Arey regularly took early morning walks – the first stretch with her dog, then after dropping the dog off, on her own – near her home in the Edgewater subdivision off Zierdt Road.

Campbell testified the department received a call about a body in the road on the morning of Feb. 19. A review of the scene determined Arey had been hit by a vehicle, apparently while walking in the road. Cambell testified it was a foggy morning and that Arey was wearing reflective clothing.

A fragment of a headlight, from an older vehicle was found near her body on Edgewater Drive, Campbell testified. He said the Edgewater subdivision is affluent and most of the vehicles are newer, more expensive models.

Another officer went to a nearby apartment complex on Spinnaker Ridge Drive. He began looking for older vehicles with damage. One car was reviewed, but the officer felt the headlight was too damaged for a match, Campbell said.

The officer then found a Dodge Stratus that had damage to its hood, windshield and headlight. The fragment from the headlight found near Arey’s body fit right into the damaged section of the light, Campbell testified.

They identified the vehicle as being owned by Nail and went to her apartment.

Campbell said when officers went to the door, Nail’s sister asked them, ‘What did she hit this time?’

Nail was awakened, and smelled of alcohol, Campbell said.  Police asked her to go to the station for questioning, but she appeared to be stalling, he said, so they arrested her.

She refused a blood test, but they obtained a search warrant and drew two blood samples. They are still awaiting the results.

Nail’s attorney Nate Wake noted no witnesses saw the incident. Campbell said a video from a nearby rec center shows a car – it can’t clearly be identified as Nail’s - entering the subdivision around 5:40 a.m. Police think Arey was struck between 5:45  a.m. and 6 a.m.

Nail had a previous DUI charge in 2015 dismissed after completing a diversion program. That was her second alcohol related crash, reported.

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