Police make arrest in fatal Huntsville hit-and-run

LaTonya Denise Haley (Source: Metro Jail)
LaTonya Denise Haley (Source: Metro Jail)
8-year-old Weixi Zhang was killed when he was struck by a vehicle Sunday. (Source: Family)
8-year-old Weixi Zhang was killed when he was struck by a vehicle Sunday. (Source: Family)
Zhang children at a Christmas dinner meeting at Meteor Chinese Restaurant in 2012. (Source: Facebook Martha Williams)
Zhang children at a Christmas dinner meeting at Meteor Chinese Restaurant in 2012. (Source: Facebook Martha Williams)

HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - Huntsville police announced Monday afternoon they have made an arrest in connection with a hit-and-run that fatally injured a child Sunday night.

Police charged LaTonya Denise Haley with vehicular homicide, one felony count of leaving the scene of an accident and two counts of second-degree assault.

Police said an SUV struck Weixi Zhang and two of his sisters on Highway 72 east just off Memorial Parkway around 11 p.m. Sunday.

The accident happened feet away from the Zhang family-owned Meteor Buffet. Weixi Zhang died as a result of his injuries.

Police towed away the vehicle believed involved from a Huntsville neighborhood earlier Monday afternoon.

This isn't the first time Haley has found herself in legal trouble. Several years ago, she pleaded guilty to a second-degree assault charge. Court records show authorities accused Haley of attacking another woman with a box cutter. She was sentenced to five years, but she did not do any time. She was instead on probation for two years and issued a fine.

Co-workers of Haley said she worked at Best Wings on Meridian Street, just a few miles from the incident scene. They said she is a "great person who made a mistake," and that she had been under a lot of recent stress.

No matter the circumstances, friends of the family said there is simply no excuse. The Zhang family remains devastated over the loss of their son and the injury of his two sisters in the hours following the accident. A family friend said they can't wrap their heads around why the driver didn't see them walking.

Upon learning about Haley's arrest, family and supporters who spent the day at the Meteor Buffet broke down in tears. It is clear an entire community joins the Zhang family in grieving over a life lost so young.

Weixi Zhang's sisters, Weiling and Weizing, were released from Huntsville Hospital Monday to recover from their injuries.

We have made corrections from our previous story in which we stated Haley served time in prison for the incident with the box cutter.

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