DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) — Dallas Police have arrested a man suspected of hitting and killing a seven-year-old girl with his car and fleeing the scene Tuesday night.

Julius Maurice Sears, 29, has been charged with one count of accident involving injury or death, a second degree felony.

Assistant Police Chief Mike Genovsi says the suspect claims he was unaware that he ever struck the child.

Witnesses say Melany Valdez was playing outside in a grassy area and ran into the street on Hemlock Avenue, near Park Lane. A black, 2008 Chrysler then hit Valdez.

The girl was taken to Presbyterian Hospital by an adult on the scene, but was pronounced dead an hour later. She was a student at Jack Lowe Elementary.

Witnesses to the incident followed the suspect vehicle to an apartment complex in the area. Police were able to locate the suspect vehicle, though the suspect was not found.

The license plate number was used to track the vehicle to a local dealership, where it was recently purchased, according to police.

Authorities spoke with Sears on Tuesday night, and again on Wednesday night, before ultimately making the arrest.

“Mr. Sears also had alias tickets out, misdemeanor warrants out of the city of Dallas, for which he could have been arrested at the time the detectives talked to him [Tuesday] evening,” said Genovsi. “He was not arrested. We’re looking currently at why that didn’t happen.”

According to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Sears was previously incarcerated from Dec. 2008 to March 2011 on charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, and drug charges.

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