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Suspect admitted to drinking, then fleeing after fatal hit-and-run, says affidavit

Police are still looking for a black SUV that is believed to be involved in the hit-and-run.
Updated: Jun. 17, 2021 at 7:27 AM CDT
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GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - The woman accused in a Gulfport hit-and-run that left two people dead last month said she knew she hit someone but panicked and fled because she had been drinking, said a court affidavit obtained this week.

Taylor Marie Habina, 25, said she was driving a 2021 Ram 1500 when she realized she had ran over someone that was laying in the road, she told police in the June 9 interview just hours after she was arrested. Habina said she panicked and fled after seeing cops begin to show up, fearing that she would get a DUI because she had been drinking, states the affidavit.

She is now charged with one count of leaving the scene of an accident causing death.

The fatal hit-and-run happened just after 1 a.m. on May 29. Police say the bodies of 42-year-old Cassie Bowman of Biloxi and 42-year-old Jason Stone of Perkinston were found laying in the road near the intersection of Lorraine and Intraplex Parkway. The two had been on a motorcycle that appeared to be struck from behind, authorities said.

Cassie Bowman, pictured left, and Jason Stone, right, were killed after police say a truck...
Cassie Bowman, pictured left, and Jason Stone, right, were killed after police say a truck struck the motorcycle they were riding then drove off.(Gulfport Police Dept.)

The motorcycle was located further north in the roadway, leading investigators to determine that the victims were dragged after being hit. According to the affidavit, officers fund a front air dam skirting wrapped around Stone’s body when they arrived. It was later determined that the auto part belonged to a 2019-2021 Ram 1500. A witness later came forward and gave police information that implicated Habina, said the affidavit.

The day after Habina was taken into custody, the owner of the vehicle she was driving - 46-year-old Jason Christopher Smith - was arrested and charged with one count of accessory after the fact and one count of tampering with physical evidence. According to the affidavit, Habina told police that she noticed blood on the passenger side of the truck several days after the crime. Smith told her he cleaned it off in order to destroy the physical evidence, she said in the interview with police.

Taylor Habina, pictured left, and Jason Smith, right, are charged in connection to a fatal hit...
Taylor Habina, pictured left, and Jason Smith, right, are charged in connection to a fatal hit and run that left two people dead.(Gulfport Police Dept.)

In addition to Habina and Smith, a 39-year-old man was also arrested in connection to the hit-and-run. He was charged with hindering prosecution, which is a misdemeanor.

Gulfport Police are still asking for the public’s help to locate a dark-colored SUV. It’s possible that it has recent front end damage to it, said authorities. Photos of the SUV are dark and grainy but police say the vehicle appears to have dark-colored rims.

Gulfport Police are asking for the public's help to locate this dark-colored SUV that is wanted...
Gulfport Police are asking for the public's help to locate this dark-colored SUV that is wanted in connection to a fatal hit and run that occurred May 29, 2021.(Gulfport Police)
Gulfport Police are asking for the public's help to locate this dark-colored SUV that is wanted...
Gulfport Police are asking for the public's help to locate this dark-colored SUV that is wanted in connection to a fatal hit and run that occurred May 29, 2021.(Gulfport Police Dept.)

Anyone who has information about the SUV or the accident that could help authorities is asked to contact Gulfport Police Department at 228-868-5959 or Mississippi Coast Crime Stoppers at 877-787-5898.

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