This story has been updated to reflect new information.
MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Two people have been arrested following a deadly hit-and-run in Oxford, Mississippi over the weekend.
Oxford Police said that they responded to a 911 call on Sunday around 1:14 AM saying that two people were hurt. Police officers as well as Oxford Fire rendered aid to the two victims until they could be transported to Baptist Memorial Hospital North Mississippi for treatment.
Police identified one of the victims as Walker Fielder and the University of Mississippi confirmed the other victim hurt in the accident is Blanche Williamson of Raleigh, North Carolina. Fielder later died from his injuries, and Williamson was taken to Regional One Hospital in critical condition in Memphis.
WREG reached out to the University of Mississippi, and they confirmed both Fielder and Williamson are students.
The University of Mississippi released the following statement regarding the events:
“We received the heartbreaking news that one of our students was killed early this morning, and another was seriously injured after they were hit by a vehicle driving near the Square. We have been in touch with the families to offer our condolences and our support. I ask the community to join us in mourning the tragic loss of a life taken too soon, and we hope and pray that our injured student recovers fully from her injuries.” – Jacob Batte, Director of News and Media Relations said.
Sunday night, Oxford Police announced that the suspects had been identified as 24-year-old Seth Rokitka and 18-year-old Tristan Holland both of Collierville, Tennessee. Oxford Police say Holland was taken into custody in Shelby County and will be extradited back to Oxford. Holland has been charged with accessory after the fact.
Oxford Police arrested Seth Rokitka around 8:30 a.m. Monday morning. He was taken into custody and his truck was found wrecked in Marshall County, according to OPD. It has been recovered and impounded at this time.
Rokitka has been charged with manslaughter, aggravated DUI, duties of driver involved in accident resulting in death, and duties of driver involved in accident resulting in personal injury.
He is being held on a $1,000,000 bond.
Police later clarified that Rokitka and Holland did not interact with the victims before the incident, they did not cross paths and were at separate establishments the entire night. However, neither suspect rendered aid or called 911.
Walker Fielder was a member of the Sigma Chi fraternity where he was a rush chairman. According to those who knew him, he was out Saturday night celebrating the Rebels’ win over Auburn and it was his 21st birthday.
The Chancellor of the University of Mississippi, Glenn F. Boyce, posted the following message:
“What had been a beautiful fall Saturday in Oxford ended with a horrendous event that took the life of one of our students. Walker Fielder, a junior from Madison, Mississippi, was killed and another student, Blanche Williamson, a sophomore from Raleigh, North Carolina, was seriously injured after they were struck by a vehicle in a hit-and-run just off the Square. It is a painful and distressing development for our campus community, and it is understandable that emotions are high with many unanswered questions about what happened.
Please join me in offering heartfelt condolences to Walker’s family, friends, classmates, and others. Walker was a leader in the Sigma Chi fraternity, and a widely liked member of our campus community. While there are no words that can alleviate the deep sorrow that his friends and family are experiencing, please keep them close in your thoughts and prayers during this time of immense grief.
In addition, please pray that Blanche continues to heal and recovers fully. She needs our support, love, and care.”
Students like Logan Leatherwood on the campus of the University of Mississippi say after what happened this past weekend they will be more cautious when they go out.
“It worries me because I am a student here. I look at that and I am like that is someone’s baby, that is someone’s child that just got taken away from them, that could have been me. Now I am just kind of vigilant now,” Leatherwood said.
Members of the Sigma Chi fraternity met with counselors on Sunday.
A friend representing Fielder’s family released a statement saying he was “loyal, considerate, and loved by all his brothers, staff and alumni” and an active member of Christ United Methodist Church in Jackson, Mississippi.
“The family would like to thank you for reaching out to us. Walker was an outstanding young man who was a leader in his fraternity at Ole Miss. He represented all that the men of Sigma Chi aspire to be. He was loyal, considerate, and loved by all his brothers, staff, and alumni who had the good fortune to know him. His legacy will live on with the exceptional pledge class he helped create as Rush Chairman this past year. Walker was a 2020 graduate of Jackson Academy. He and his family are active members of Christ United Methodist Church in Jackson MS. As Walker’s high school Disciple Group Leader, I had the privilege to walk along side him in his faith journey from 6th thru 12th grade. Walker took his faith seriously and he truly valued the time he spent with family and friends. At this time, we ask that you join us in offering condolences to Walker’s family, friends, classmates, and all those who knew and loved him.”
The Mayor of Oxford, Robyn Tannehill posted the following statement:
“I cannot let the sun go down on this terrible day without making a statement regarding the tragic event that happened in our community early this morning. As many of you have already heard, two students were injured in the parking lot behind City Hall. They were both immediately transferred to Baptist Memorial Hospital – North Mississippi. Sadly, the male student, Walker Fielder from Madison, Mississippi passed away from the injuries sustained. A female Ole Miss student remains hospitalized in Memphis.
Please follow the social media accounts of the Oxford Police Department for information regarding the details of the incident and arrests. Information will be provided to the public as it is appropriate to do so. As this is an ongoing investigation, information may not be as readily available as some would hope, but I promise you that these families and finding justice for these students are our top priorities and the case will be handled with as much compassion as possible for those involved. I am proud of the Oxford Police Department and their dedication to these families and to getting answers. They are ultimate professionals and I am honored to work with them. I am writing to you tonight as a Mother with a broken heart for these families, for their precious friends, for their sorority sisters and fraternity brothers, for their hometowns, and for our community as we all weather another terrible storm.
I am writing to ask you for your prayers for Walker’s Mom and Dad and Sister as they mourn the loss of this young man who was handsome and kind and talented and loved by so many. Pray for peace and comfort for them that only comes from our Heavenly Father. I am asking you to pray for complete healing for the female student. Please pray for wisdom for her doctors and nurses. Please pray that her injuries and her heart would heal. The physical and emotional pain these families are experiencing is unimaginable.
Oxford is a community that comforts those that need comforting. Perhaps that comes from practice and from times of trials that we wish we could pray away, but nevertheless, Oxford always steps up when things are hard and when people need us. These two families need us. They need our prayers. They need us to surround those that love them and be God’s hands and feet. Times like these make us treasure our time with those we love. You have my commitment that we will continue to do all we can to make Oxford, Mississippi the safest community to go to school, to live and to visit.”
A visitation for Walker Fielder will be held Wednesday, October 19 from noon to 2 p.m. at Christ United Methodist Church at 6000 Old Canton Road in Jackson, Mississippi. It will be followed by a funeral service at 2 p.m. Click here for more information.