A McAlester man accused of crushing and burying a vehicle involved in a Nov. 20 fatal hit-and-run has been arrested and charged as an accessory in the incident.
Ronald Timothy Swearengin, 48, was charged Friday afternoon with felony accessory to felony and misdemeanor destroying evidence, according to documents filed by District 18 First Assistant District Attorney Adam Scharn.
The felony charge alleges Swearengin “unlawfully, willfully, intentionally, and feloniously” crushed and buried a white 2000 Plymouth Voyager on a property in McAlester “in an attempt to hide said van from the Oklahoma Highway Patrol” because the van was evidence in the case of State of Oklahoma versus Antonia Beall.
OHP Public Information Officer Sarah Stewart told the News-Capital Saturday that Swearengin denied any involvement in the destruction and burying of the van to investigators.
Beall was charged Friday with first-degree manslaughter and felony leaving scene of fatality accident, court documents state.
Investigators allege Beall was under the influence of an intoxicating substance when she allegedly struck and killed 34-year-old Curtis Wayne Johnson, of Lancaster, Texas, on Nov. 20 just south of McAlester before leaving the scene.
A Nov. 24 social media post asking for help from the public by the OHP led to investigators identifying Beall as the driver of the van.
According to an affidavit filed in the case against Beall, investigators recovered a photo sent by Swearengin to a family member of Beall. The family member told investigators that Swearengin told her that he “disposed of the van in an unknown way” after receiving the photo, the affidavit states.
OHP Trooper Tim Baker wrote in his report that the photo showed a van matching the description of the van Beall was allegedly driving with windshield damage on the right side, the side which would have struck Johnson.
Swearengin admitted to investigators that he took the photo, but that he found the van at Beall’s residence “vandalized” with a propane tank through the windshield, the report states.
According to the affidavit, investigators also recovered text messages between Swearengin and Beall that indicated Beall was going to meet Swearengin at a motel near where the fatal collision occurred.
The OHP stated Friday that additional accomplices have been identified and further arrests are expected.
Contact Derrick James at email@example.com