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Man accused of killing tow truck driver has 8 DWI convictions

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- One man is dead and another behind bars after a hit and run last night on Carolina Beach Road.

Highway Patrol says Anthony Thompson hit tow truck driver John Junior Colville and then took off, driving almost nine miles before he was pulled over.

"I'm at Carolina Beach Road and McQuillian," a caller to 911 told a dispatcher. "We need an ambulance quick. Somebody just got hit by a car. A tow truck driver."

Drivers on Carolina Beach Road frantically called New Hanover County Dispatch for help Sunday after the accident. One driver said the man hit was coming to help her.

"He was getting out of his vehicle to come talk to me, when a truck came by and hit him," she said.

A distressed driver had called AAA to help her with car trouble. As Colville arrived, investigators say Thompson hit him and then drove off.

"I think he's dead. Oh my gosh. They say he's dead. Oh my gosh, he's my tow truck driver," the 911 caller said.

Highway Patrol says Thompson was pulled over almost nine miles away at Legion Stadium.

Colville died from his injuries.

According to Department of Public Safety records, Thompson has been convicted eight times for driving while impaired and has had his license revoked 11 times.

But this time, Thompson’s multiple convictions may catch up with him.

“Laws with respect to habitual impaired driving have toughened considerably over the last several years,” says Ben David, the New Hanover County District Attorney. “I can tell you that we're preceding under that law today.”

Thompson is not new to hit and runs either. According to Department of Public Safety records, he has fled the scene two other times.

David says Thompson's most recent DWI conviction was last November.

“This is a very serious case and if the defendant is convicted of second degree murder he faces several years in prison and what will determine that is not whether he had the intent to kill, that's first degree murder, but whether or not you can show malice,” David says.

David says multiple DWI’s or hit and runs can establish malice in court. If malice is determined in Thompson’s case, he could face many years in prison. His next court date is November 29.

Thompson is charged with second degree murder, driving while impaired, habitual impaired driving, driving while license revoked and hit and run with injury.

Colville worked for Wayne's Towing in Wilmington. Today the company did not want to comment on his death.

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