Man arrested after deadly hit and run that killed UofM student

Published: Nov. 17, 2023 at 6:03 AM CST|Updated: Nov. 17, 2023 at 10:26 PM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - A man was arrested in connection to a hit-and-run that killed University of Memphis student Ava Christopher.

Julio Hernandez, 19, is charged with vehicular homicide, reckless driving, driver to exercise due to care, disregarding a traffic signal, no driver’s license, financial responsibility, and leaving the scene of an accident involving death.

Christopher was killed in a hit-and-run on July 25 on Cooper Street and Central Avenue.

According to court records, Hernandez was driving a Dodge Challenger and hit Ava after disregarding a red light at Central Avenue.

The Dodge Challenger was shown stolen out of Southaven.

Hernandez left the scene on foot, police say.

Memphis police say he was going 88 miles per hour in a 40 miles per hour zone at the time of the crash.

After further investigation, a witness identified Hernandez as the man walking away from the crash in the video police obtained.

At the time of the crash, the rims of the Dodge Challenger were missing.

Police say Hernandez was later found driving his car with the stolen Dodge Challenger rims.

Police say he admitted to driving the car at the time of the fatal crash. Hernandez had no valid driver’s license and could not provide proof of vehicle insurance.

Action News Five spoke with Christopher’s mother, Angela Christopher, she said the wait for answers was difficult.

“Have they forgotten about her, are they making any progress, you just don’t know? That’s been really really hard not having any information. So, for him to call and give us that information it was, it just took my breath away,” she said.

Christopher said although this is progress towards justice for Ava she still misses her daughter.

“Nothing is going to bring her back, but I’ll feel. Closure is not the right word, I can’t find the right words,” Christopher said.

The mother shared with Action News Five that Hernandez gave a message to investigators when he was arrested.

“I guess the driver [told him] to let us know that he was incredibly sorry and that he did not intend to kill her. If you are going to drive that fast down a street like this that’s shame on you. You can’t do that and say I didn’t mean to,” she said.

There is still a second suspect in this case. According to the Memphis Police Department, there was no update yet on whether that woman has been arrested or identified.

Ava Christopher’s mother wants people to still keep their eyes out for the second suspect.

“Everybody still keep your eyes out, she’s still out there. She didn’t come forward she walked past my baby girl and left her there just like he did. She needs to be found too,” she said.

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