Authorities search for hit-and-run suspects

MERCER COUNTY, WV (WOAY) – Last night, Mercer County deputies responded to a hit and run sparked by a shoplifting incident.

At 7:30 p.m., deputies responded to a hit and run at Mercer Mall. Upon arrival, authorities learned the accident was allegedly caused by two men that also shoplifted from the Belk inside the mall.

The accident caused the second vehicle’s airbags to deploy, injuring someone inside.

“We had witnesses saying the suspect vehicle was a navy blue van that struck the vehicle, disabling it, and the airbags went off on it,” said chief deputy Joe Parks. “The Mercer County Sheriffs Department is looking for tips from the public about who may have been involved in the shoplifting. We do know it was two men.”

Authorities found the suspect’s vehicle abandoned at another location. The alleged shoplifters face several charges, including fleeing the scene of an accident.

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Kassie Simmons joined the team in January 2019 as a weekend journalist. She graduated from Virginia Tech in just two and a half years with a BA in multimedia journalism. During her short time at Virginia Tech, she served as the editor for the university’s chapter of The Tab. Kassie was named the top reporter for The Tab at Virginia Tech on multiple occasions and made the list for the top 30 reporters for The Tab in the U.S. She also studied theater performance and minored in creative writing. Before coming to WOAY, Kassie interned at WSLS in Roanoke and the Tidewater Review in her hometown of West Point, Va. She has loved following breaking news since her childhood and has a passion for delivering the stories people care most about. Kassie is excited to be working in Southern West Virginia and looks forward to all the adventures ahead of her. You can follow her on Twitter at @KassieLSimmons and like her page on Facebook. If you have a story you think she should check out, send her an email at