COLBERT COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) — A former police officer has been indicted for murder in connection to an incident in October 2022, according to authorities.
The Tuscumbia Police Department announced the indictment against 34-year-old James “Jay” Steward Friday morning.
Police Chief Tony Logan wrote in the press release that the indictment is “related to a vehicle accident in October 2022 where a pedestrian was killed.”
Logan said the department received a call about a pedestrian struck by a vehicle on Hawk Pride Mountain Road in Tuscumbia around 8:16 p.m. on October 10, 2022.
The officer driving the marked Tuscumbia police vehicle 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 Deputy Coroner Matt Moore pronounced the pedestrian dead on the scene. The pedestrian was later identified as 60-year-old Terry Hinton.
The indictment states that 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” at the time of the incident.
The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency and the Attorney General’s Office will handle the investigation and prosecution of the case.
“Our thoughts and prayers remain with [the] family and friends of the person killed,” added Chief Logan.
Steward was booked into the Colbert County Sheriff’s Office at 9:19 a.m. on Friday.
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.”
A preliminary hearing has been set for Monday, March 13 at 10 a.m. in the Colbert County Courthouse. An arraignment has been set for April 25 at 9 a.m.