January 16, 2021

Former Mississippi cop charged after pedestrian fatality

A former police officer has been arrested on a manslaughter charge after his car fatally struck a pedestrian over the weekend, Mississippi authorities said.

James Heath Kitchens, 30, of Starkville, was arrested after the death of 26-year-old Brittany Phillips, also of Starkville, in northeast Oktibbeha County, news outlets reported.

The Tupelo Police Department confirmed that Kitchens was a Tupelo officer from January 2019 to May 2020, WTVA-TV reported.

His bond was set at $25,000, Oktibbeha County Sheriff Steve Gladney told news outlets.

Investigator Brett Watson said Phillips was hit about 8 p.m. Saturday. She died early Sunday, deputy county coroner Billy Miller confirmed to The Dispatch.

Authorities said the investigation was continuing.

It was not immediately clear whether Kitchens had an attorney who could speak for him.