Driver arrested in hit-and-run that injured young girl

April 22, 2012 

Troopers said Sunday they've arrested the driver of a vehicle that struck a young girl Tuesday near Soldotna then kept going.

John Lee Smith, 56, of Nikiski, was arrested Saturday on an outstanding warrant based on accusations he violated his probation in a drug case, troopers said. Authorities then added a felony charge of leaving the scene of an accident.

Talia Tepp and two other children were playing in a puddle along Kalifornsky Beach Road when two of them ran in the road. A Toyota SUV hit the little girl. Troopers said last week she was expected to make a full recovery.

Witnesses were able to identify the vehicle and confirm that Smith was driving, trooper spokesman Tim DeSpain said. Smith was in the process of buying the SUV, DeSpain said.

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