Pottawatomie County prosecutors charged a Shawnee man Friday with manslaughter and leaving the scene of a fatality accident after a fatal hit-and-run crash in Tecumseh.
Tecumseh Police Chief J.R. Kidney said Samuel Pawnee, 40, turned himself in on August 21.
Police said James Kinnamon, 58, of Tecumseh was killed in the evening of August 14. A car struck him while he was riding a bicycle on Benson Park Road., west of Highway 177.
According to charging documents, Pawnee told officers he was drinking that night and did not remember the drive home. Pawnee told police he had also taken prescription medications related to a recent mouth surgery.
Security footage from an Absentee-Shawnee building nearby captured the vehicle after the crash.
In the days after the crash, police requested tips from the public on social media to identify the car involved.
“I do believe that Facebook is the reason we were able to get Mr. Pawnee to come turn himself in,” said Kidney.
Kidney and an investigator spoke with the driver’s girlfriend, who said she and Pawnee went “casino hopping” the day of the crash.
According to charging documents, cameras owned by the Citizen Potawatomi Nation captured Pawnee drinking 10 alcoholic drinks inside a casino in the hours before the crash.
“We were able to obtain video footage of our suspect driving the vehicle away from the casino,” Kidney said.
Cameras inside of a convenience store near the casino later captured him stealing an alcoholic drink, as well.
Pawnee surrendered himself and was arrested at the Tecumseh police station one week after the crash. He told officers that he does not remember driving home that night.
“He was cooperative, he says he wants to do the right thing, you know, for the family, the victim’s family.” Kidney said.
Glen Sanders, a former son-in-law of Kinnamon said Pawnee’s arrest does bring a sense of closure, although the family is still coping with the loss.
“I just remember him as loving to fish and loving to be with his family and trying to be the best grandparent he could be,” Sanders said. “He was a really good guy.”