Covington man dies in crash minutes after stealing truck, cops say

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A man accused of stealing a pickup truck from a Walton County gas station died minutes later after getting into a crash, authorities said.

Matthew Shane Lester, 37, of Covington, is accused of stealing a 2006 Ford F-250 from a gas station in Social Circle about 2 p.m. Wednesday, according to a Georgia State Patrol crash report obtained by AJC.com. 

Lester, who some may recognize as a witness in a high-profile Newton County murder trial, is accused of driving the stolen pickup truck “at a high rate of speed” north along Ga. 11, the report said. Troopers said he failed to maintain his lane, striking a GMC Sierra near Vine Street.

The impact cause the Ford to travel into oncoming traffic, where it sideswiped a Ford Fiesta, the report said. The stolen pickup truck then traveled off the roadway and into a tree, killing Lester. No one else was injured.

The GBI will perform Lester’s autopsy.

He was a witness in the 2019 trial of Christopher Michael McNabb and Cortney Marie Bell, who were convicted of murdering their 2-week-old daughter. McNabb was sentenced to life without parole, while Bell received a 15-year-old prison sentence.

RELATED: Georgia parents convicted in newborn’s death want new trials

Lester, a state prisoner at the time, was called as a witness during the trail.

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