Man charged in hit-and-run that killed Kyson Beatty was habitual traffic violator, docs say

·3 min read

A lug nut cover, mere inches in size, led police to arrest a man accused of being behind the wheel of a truck, fatally striking 11-year-old Kyson Beatty, and driving away, according to court records.

Indianapolis police on Sunday announced the arrest of 52-year-old John Killough Jr., just over a week after Beatty died. Marion County prosecutors charged him with leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death and operating a vehicle as a habitual traffic violator.

Related: Police arrest driver accused of crash that killed 11-year-old Kyson Beatty

Officers with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department on Dec. 11 responded to the crash minutes before 4:30 p.m. and found Beatty in the middle of the intersection at Wicker Road and South Tibbs Avenue. Police reported Beatty had been driving a small motorcycle.

Emergency medical personnel pronounced him dead.

Detectives in the affidavit said a chrome-colored lug nut cover was found in the road. They said in the affidavit that it likely came from a vehicle with large tires.

Kyson Beatty died after being struck by a vehicle at South Tibbs and Wicker Road. He was 11. The vehicle’s driver fled.
Kyson Beatty died after being struck by a vehicle at South Tibbs and Wicker Road. He was 11. The vehicle’s driver fled.

The lug nut cap and a 911 caller who reported they saw a construction truck driving away led police to theorize the vehicle that hit Beatty was a truck.

Detectives pulled surveillance footage they said showed a rollback truck with two large tires strapped on the bed driving west on Wicker Road about 15 minutes before police found Beatty. At 4:28, minutes before people reported the crash, police said the video showed the truck driving on Wicker Road again. The tires had moved forward and a skid-steer loader was loaded in the back.

Detectives said several witnesses then reported seeing a rollback truck in the area at the time of the hit-and-run, including one person who said they saw the truck swerve as if “trying to dodge something” as it continued driving east.

Police sent pictures of the truck to media Dec. 12. A man contacted police to tell him the truck belonged to his business, the affidavit said. The man told police he had been trying to track down the truck but none of his employees knew what happened to it.

Indianapolis police would like to speak to the driver of this vehicle in connection with a hit-and-run crash Dec. 11, 2021, at South Tibbs Avenue and Wicker Road.
Indianapolis police would like to speak to the driver of this vehicle in connection with a hit-and-run crash Dec. 11, 2021, at South Tibbs Avenue and Wicker Road.

He then told detectives he also couldn’t get ahold of one of his employees – Killough. The man thought Killough may had been avoiding him and possibly drove the truck the weekend Beatty died.

Investigators said surveillance footage from the business later showed Killough getting into the driver's side of the truck about a half hour before the crash. They learned Killough is a habitual traffic violator for life, according to the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles.

Police found the truck after Killough told them he parked it near a farm in Johnson County. Detectives in the affidavit noted the truck had scuff marks on a front tire and a lug nut cover was missing from one of the front wheels. Investigators later determined the covers on the truck’s wheels matched the lug nut cover they found at the scene.

Another man in the truck at the time of the crash told detectives he saw something "streak" across the truck's path. He said Killough swerved to the right and he heard a thump.

The man said Killough cursed, claiming he may have hit someone, then said he couldn’t be caught driving the truck. He said Killough then shifted gears and sped away.

Contact Sarah Nelson at sarah.nelson@indystar.com or 317-503-7514.

This article originally appeared on Indianapolis Star: John Killough charged in hit-and-run that killed Kyson Beatty

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