TUSCUMBIA, Ala. (WHNT) — A former police officer appeared in court Monday morning after being charged with reckless murder last week.
James “Jay” Keith Steward, 34, a former officer for the Tuscumbia Police Department, was arrested on Friday after a Colbert County grand jury indicted him for murder in connection to the October 2022, incident that killed 60-year-old Terry Hinton.
Steward’s bond was set at $300,000. Conditions of that bond include him reporting immediately to Colbert County Community Corrections and being subject to random drug tests.
According to the indictment, Steward was “under the influence of alcohol and/or under the combined influence of alcohol and a controlled substance and/or speeding and/or driving on the wrong side of the road” when his marked patrol car struck Hinton.
Tuscumbia Police Chief Tony Logan said the department received a call saying a pedestrian had been hit by a vehicle on Hawk Pride Mountain Road around 8:16 p.m. on October 10, 2022.
Colbert County Deputy Coroner Matt Moore pronounced Hinton dead on the scene.
Steward was taken by Keller EMS to a nearby landing zone at the New Bethel Elementary School. He would have surgery for his injuries, but authorities later updated to say he was recovering at home.
Colbert County Sheriff Eric Balentine told News 19 that it can be unsafe to hold a former officer in a county that he used to patrol. To keep him safe, Steward was transported to the Cullman County Jail where he is being held without bond.
“We have a responsibility to the inmates, no matter who they are, to keep them as safe as possible while they’re in our custody,” Balentine said. “Under these circumstances, I just felt like it was what was in his best interest to keep him safe.”
An arraignment has been set for April 25 at 9 a.m. at the Colbert County Courthouse under Judge Kyle Brown.