Family of Penn Hills hit-and-run victim speaks out after

Family of man killed in Penn Hills hit-and-run speaks out after arrest

PENN HILLS, Pa. — The driver who allegedly hit and killed a man in Penn Hills last month has been arrested.

Surron Burch, 21, was arrested Wednesday at a home in Penn Hills.

Police believe Burch was driving a car registered to Modesty Hopper on April 28 when he hit Joseph Morris but drove away. Morris was dragged for a half-mile after he was struck while walking home from work.

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"In a split second lives were changed forever, our family and their family." Morris' sister Tricia Verbanic said.

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Police spent more than a week searching for the vehicle involved. Last week, it was discovered in a parking lot in McKeesport.

When Hopper was first identified as the owner of the vehicle, police questioned her but said she would not identify the driver.

Police issued an arrest warrant for Hopper on obstruction charges, and she turned herself in Wednesday afternoon. She was not in the car when Morris was hit, according to investigators.


“She has absolutely nothing to do with this gentleman’s untimely death,” Casey White, Hopper's attorney, said.

Police reviewed Hopper’s cellphone and discovered text messages between her and a person identified as "bubs" who said he was responsible for the damage to her car.

“You [expletive] near owe me a whole new car you smashed the hood up busted the frame and everything,” Hopper texted “bubs,” who was later identified as Burch, according to a criminal complaint.

Burch responded: “I didn’t do it on purpose.”

Video shows Burch, whom police said is in a relationship with Hopper, getting into the car on April 28, investigators said.

In a text message sent by Hopper to someone else, she said: “Yeah he just broke the windshield he's getting it fixed today but I really don't know he keep tryna say some dude was running and jumped up on the car like I'm [expletive] stupid,” according to the complaint.

Burch is charged with homicide by vehicle, involuntary manslaughter and several other charges.

"They’re young, just 21, they have to live with this," Verbanic said.