Articles Posted in Drunk Driver Accidents

Our Atlanta motorcycle accident attorneys know that motorcycle accidents are too often fatal. A recent news article discussed another fatal accident involving a motorcycle in Georgia involving someone fleeing the police, and another about a drunk driver who killed a motorcycle passenger.

Open SkyOn a Saturday night around 10:25 p.m. at the end of June, 28-year-old Michael William Lynch from Cartersville was trying to flee a Bartow County deputy. The deputy had tried to stop him for speeding. The deputy lost sight of Mr. Lynch on GA 293. He went around a sharp turn on that road, and saw debris from a crash. He turned around and found the motorcycle and Mr. Lynch off the shoulder of the road. The motorcycle had gone onto the shoulder, down the embankment and had smashed into several trees. Mr. Lynch had been ejected from the motorcycle and died from his injuries in the crash, and was pronounced dead at the scene. Bartow County Coroner Joel Guyton said, “He struck a tree. He died as a result of multiple blunt force trauma from the single-motorcycle accident.” The Georgia State Patrol said they were not involved in chasing Mr. Lynch, but did release a press release about the accident.

In the above case, the motorcyclist was trying to avoid police and was driving recklessly, but a lot to times, people on motorcycles are the victims of accidents as well, and are much more vulnerable than people in cars and other vehicles. A drunk driver killed a motorcycle passenger the same weekend in the end of June. Jessica Johnson was driving her 2012 Hyundai Sonata southbound on I-75/85, tried to merge onto I-20, and rear ended a 2013 Suzuki GSX driven by Saahir Salahuddin. His passenger, 33-year-old Ellie Norris, was knocked off the bike, and then run over by Ms. Johnson’s car. The motorcycle hit the median. Mr. Salahuddin survived, went over to where Ms. Norris was pinned down on the pavement by the car, called her name and then ran away from the scene when she didn’t answer. When police tested Ms. Johnson, she was at more than twice the legal limit for alcohol blood levels while driving. She was arrested and taken to Fulton County Jail for DUI, first degree vehicular homicide, reckless driving and following too closely. Mr. Salahuddin went to Grady Memorial Hospital to treat his injuries, and he was also arrested for first degree vehicular homicide, hit-and-run and theft by receiving a stolen auto, but it was unclear whether all the charges were related to the accident.

Our Atlanta car accident lawyers know about the dangers of teen driving, which are heightened when teens drink and drive. We are now around prom season and going into graduation time and according to a survey done by AAA, including of teens in Georgia, a frightening 41 percent of teens said they planned to use drugs or drink alcohol during the prom and graduation season. Even more worrying is that 84 percent of the teens said they would rather drive drunk or high than call their parents to pick them up, saying they were afraid of getting in trouble. The AAA survey was of students 16 to 19 years old in Georgia, Florida, Tennessee and Wisconsin. Teens are already some of the least experienced drivers on the road, and introducing these other factors is a recipe for road accidents.

PromSome companies and organizations are trying to promote teen safety in light of these sobering statistics. In the end of April, Drive Smart Georgia did events at high schools in north Atlanta. The events focused on making smart driving decisions during the prom season. The sessions encouraged students to take the AAA PROMise pledge to not drink alcohol, drive intoxicated or get in the car with someone who has been drinking. The north Atlanta events included raffles for students who signed the pledge and was supported by many businesses in the area, including Chick-fil-A and Chili’s. Also at the end of last month, Forsyth Central High School staged what they called a “Ghost Out.” On the school’s football field, emergency workers and police staged a mock car accident with one fatality and two injuries, trying to make it as realistic as possible for the students. Doug Rainwater from the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office said, “A lot of times, kids their age think they’re invincible. Hopefully, this will make them think twice before doing something dumb.”

This time of year, around prom and graduation, more than one third of alcohol related traffic fatalities occur. Even if a teen makes the right choice and doesn’t drink and drive, there is still danger from other teenagers who were not so intelligent. Aside from these intoxication issues, teens might be distracted by everything that is going on, such as excitement, nervousness, and even friends being silly in the car while another teen drives. And no one is alone on the road; even innocent, responsible drivers are hurt by negligent or reckless drivers.  During prom and graduation, extra care should be taken even by responsible drivers.

Our Atlanta car accident attorneys read a recent news story about a local pastor in Bartow County who was killed recently in a DUI.

Mercedes Benz Logo

The accident happened just after a Sunday night celebration at the Thankful Baptist Church, a more than hundred year old church where Reverend Nim Russell worked in Rome. That Sunday was a celebration of the 23rd anniversary of Russell being the pastor of that church. On his way home, around 8:30pm, Reverend Russell and his wife, Julia, were driving in their 2007 Mercedes Benz E350 when they were in a car accident on Highway 140 near Big Oak Tree Road near the Floyd County line. Reverend Russell, who was 55 years old and had three children and 11 grandchildren, was killed when his car was hit head on by a pickup truck driven westbound by Michele Blum, a 47 year old from Adairsville. Her truck, a 2014 Dodge Ram 1500, crossed the center lane and smashed into the Russell’s car. Mrs. Russell was injured and was taken to the hospital, but does not have life threatening injuries. Still, she has undergone two operations at Chattanooga’s Erlanger Hospital and as of a day after her husband’s death, she hadn’t been told. Blum was also hospitalized at Rome’ Floyd Medical Center, as was Charles Louis Blum III, a passenger in the truck. Blum was charged with a DUI, first degree vehicular homicide, driving on the wrong side of the road and driving without headlights.

According to associate pastor, Reverend Carlton Gibson, “[Reverend Russell] loved his wife dearly. He had two daughters that he loved dearly, a son he loved dearly and those grand babies. He really loved those grand babies. He really was a family person.” The congregation at Thankful Baptist was in shock, according to Reverend Gibson. But members say that, in Reverend Russell’s spirit, they have forgiven Blum for the accident. A member of the church, Yolunda Hambrick, said, “He’s taught me to love in spite of, regardless of how I may be feeling about anyone.” She went on to say, “If I continue upon the teachings that he’s taught me, then I will see my pastor again; I will see my pastor again.” Reverend Gibson echoed that sentiment, telling reporters, “We are lifting her up in prayer. We are praying for her and we have forgiven her because that’s what Pastor Russell teaches us.  Just like God has forgiven us for our mistakes and our sins, we forgive her.”

Another deadly, and unnecessary, car accident has occurred in Georgia. Our Atlanta car accident attorneys read an article recently about an accident that killed 26-year-old Shavonna Johnson from Willow Bend Run.

Speeding

In the early morning of December 28, around 3:44 AM, Ms. Johnson was in a Kia Optima with two other people travelling west on Buena Vista Road, all on their way to get something to eat. The police report stated Ms. Johnson was a passenger in the vehicle. Chris Turner II, who is 24-years-old, was driving another car when he T-boned Ms. Johnson’s car. During the accident, Ms. Johnson was ejected from her vehicle, as she wasn’t wearing a seatbelt at the time. She suffered blunt force trauma to her abdomen, and was taken to Midtown Medical Center, though she died of her injuries after doctors performed emergency surgery to try to save her. The accident continues to be under investigation by the Columbus Police Department.

Mr. Turner now faces multiple charges, including vehicular homicide, disorderly conduct, driving under the influence, driving while his license was suspended or revoked, giving false information to an officer, obstruction of a law enforcement officer, reckless driving, and driving without a seat belt. He is being held without bond at Muscogee County jail. When the police arrived at the scene of the accident, he gave his name as “Trey”. When confronted, he apparently acted disorderly, and pushed an officer after he was arrested. He had a blood alcohol level of .105, which is well above the legal limit, and he was also not wearing a seatbelt. Additionally, police assert that he was driving at almost 100 miles per hour at the time of the crash. Midtown Medical Center staff actually refused to treat him because he was being so disruptive.

night walking (marfis75)Car accidents strike in Atlanta and throughout Georgia on a daily basis. However, during November and December there is actually an increased risk of one particular type of accident–drunk driving crashes.

The holiday season is a festive time, with many parties, happy hours, and other events scheduled. Alcohol is frequently a part of these galas. Unfortunately, too many individuals fail to take precautions after consuming alcohol, often getting behind the wheel while intoxicated. Thousands of residents are injured and killed each year as a result of these preventable drunk driving accidents.

Cracking Down on Holiday Drunk Driving Crashes

Our Atlanta car accident attorneys know that car accidents take too many lives unnecessarily each year.  Last weekend was a particularly deadly one in the Atlanta area according to news reports. There were car crashes in Clayton, Cobb, and Fulton counties last weekend, which in total caused the death of four people.

On Saturday, a garbage truck rolled over while exiting I-75 at the Cleveland Avenue ramp, killing 54 year old Derryl Simmons, an Atlanta public works employee.  Another employee was injured and taken to Grady Memorial Hospital.  A city spokesperson told reporters that alcohol was involved in this crash.  Apparently a colleague warned the city months before Mr. Simmons’s death that there were alcohol issues with some employees, saying, “I tried to speak up when I worked down there”.  The former employee wanted to remain anonymous but said he knew Mr. Simmons and hoped it would show the city they need to do something and take actual action.  The city responded with Interim Director of Communications Carlos Campos writing, “The City of Atlanta has a zero-tolerance policy for drug and alcohol use and routinely conducts random screenings.  An internal investigation is being conducted and we will take appropriate action based on the outcome of that investigation.”  The spokesperson said police were seeking arrest warrants against the driver on charges of first degree vehicular homicide, driving under the influence, and failure to maintain lane.

Speeding Car Credit

In another accident on Saturday, 20 year old Peter James Judson was hit and killed when hit by a truck on I-85 near the Ga. 400 interchange.  In that accident a passenger tried to climb out a window in the moving car, which then pulled over.  Then Judson walked into traffic where he was hit, and he died at the scene.  The driver that hit him was injured and taken to the hospital.  Rodrigo Solorio, 17 years old, also died on Saturday in a Cobb County wreck.  Solorio was driving a blue 1989 Nissan 240SX southbound on Austell Road.  He attempted to turn left in front of a black 2002 Range Rover driven by 45 year old Wilson Marcellus, and the Range Rover smashed into Solorio’s driver’s side.  Solorio died of his injures and Marcellus and a passenger in his car were taken to the hospital with minor injuries.  Late on Sunday night there was a crash in Clayton County near the intersection of Ga. 85 and Ga. 138 and one person was killed.  The driver of the other car was taken to the hospital.  Investigations into that crash continued on Monday.

Our Atlanta car accident attorneys saw news about a wrong way crash that happened on Sunday that caused multiple accidents.  Fortunately no one was killed or seriously injured, but this kind of reckless driving should not be tolerated.

The driver that caused these crashes was Alysha Tacarra Harvin, a 24 year old from Jonesboro, who was driving the wrong way down Interstate-85 in Gwinnett County. She was driving southbound in the northbound lanes near the Lawrenceville exit in the early hours of the morning, starting near mile marker 106 at the exit SR 316.  She drove nearly four miles down the highway going the wrong way before police caught her near the Beaver Ruin Road exit, south of Steve Reynolds Boulevard.  The multiple car accidents she caused were near Pleasant Hill.  Gwinnet Police Sergeant R.D. Work told reporters, “That incident caused one vehicle to flip several times while the others collided with each other.”  At about 4am a 911 call was received saying a car was travelling the wrong way and that there was a hit and run.  Then an SUV flipped trying to avoid Ms. Harvin’s car, which caused chain reaction accidents with the other cars.  Fire and rescue crews responded to the accidents and it is amazing that no one was injured in this circumstance.

Wrong Way Sign

Unsurprisingly, it turns out Ms. Harvin had been drinking when she did all this and caused so much damage.  She admitted to police officers that she had been drinking earlier that night at a nightclub in Atlanta.  She registered a 0.158 on a breath test – the legal limit for driving is 0.08,  so she was at twice the legal limit.  A second breathalyzer test showed a 0.159.  After being arrested, Alysha Harvin was charged with DUI, hit and run, reckless driving, and driving on the wrong side of the road.  She was released on $2,942 in bail later on Sunday, but will face her actions in court.  She is already set to appear in court in Clayton County next month from a citation she got in July on driving without having her license with her.  Her criminal case will likely go forward not long after.

In the end of July, a multi- vehicle car crash on the Downtown Connector in Atlanta killed one person, according to news reports. Our Atlanta car accident attorneys know that these multi-vehicle accidents are dangerous, and that too many Georgians die unnecessarily in road accidents each year.

The accident happened just after midnight in the early hours of Saturday July 20, on the southbound side of the Connector near Ga. 166.  The chain of events started with a Jeep Compass, driven by 36 year old Jeremy Crawley, leaving the road, crashing into a retaining wall and then driving back into the road, stopping in one of the lanes.  Oncoming vehicles managed to stop, except for a Volvo X90, driven by 28 year old Hollis Hamilton Floyd, which rear ended one of the stopped cars, a Kia Forte.  The Kia was extensively damaged in the crash.  Adrianna Barron, a 23 year old, was a passenger in the Kia and was killed in the accident.  There were other injuries involved in the crash, but none were life threatening.

Car Keys

Police suspected that alcohol played a role in this tragic accident.  So far, Jeremy Crawley has been charged in connection to the accident with failure to maintain a lane, DUI, and homicide by vehicle.  Hollis Hamilton Floyd has been charged with reckless driving, DUI, and homicide by vehicle, as well.

Atlanta car accident attorneys know that driving can be dangerous when drivers aren’t careful, but that things like drunk driving make the roads a much more dangerous place than it should be.  A recent news story highlighted how much of a problem drunk driving is in our area, and it was extremely lucky that this unnecessary compounded road accident did not lead to any fatalities, although two individuals were injured and hospitalized.

On Friday, July 5, at around 3am, a seven car pile-up happened in Clayton County near Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.  The accident happened on I-75 just near the exit for the airport.  The events leading to the accident started with a pedestrian walking on the highway.  The pedestrian was hit by a passing car, which lead to a chain reaction with six following cars, blocking the entire southbound part of the highway for hours.  The pedestrian was taken to the hospital in critical condition, but will face a pedestrian in the roadway charge.  Then, to make the situation worse and more dangerous, of the seven cars involved in this pile-up, six drivers have been or will be cited for driving under the influence.  A local police officer told reporters, “You’re already under the influence of alcohol.  You’re driving.  You see something, some type of accident in front of you.  You’re going to swerve and that would cause other cars to do the same.”

Breathalyzer

Four of those drivers were taken to Clayton County jail.  William Scott Kirk II was charged with a DUI and following too close.  Najm Martinez was charged with a DUI and driving less safe.  Joseph Daise was charged with a DUI.  And Tawan Hayes was charged with a DUI and following too close.  A fifth, Joshua Noble, was also charged with a DUI according to the Clayton County Police Department.  A sixth driver is expected to be charged with a DUI once he is released from the hospital.

Teens and driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is an incredibly dangerous combination. Our Atlanta vehicle accident attorneys  know that inexperienced teenage drivers and drunk drivers, separately, both constitute dangers on highway but are also all too often combined.

Usually most people think of drunk driving accidents as involving cars, and that is most often the case. But there was a news story this week about a teen involved in a DUI while driving a motorcycle. Claire Bruce Thomas, a 17-year-old from Canton was driving southbound on Lower Bethany Road near Hornage Road in Cherokee County last Friday evening at around 8:30 or 9 pm when he swerved into oncoming traffic as he tried to round a curve in the road. Thomas hit a Chrysler Town & Country on the front driver’s side, driven by a 68-year-old woman from Ball Ground, injuring the driver but not severely enough that she had to go to the hospital by ambulance. She was treated at North Cherokee. Thomas himself had to be airlifted to Atlanta Medical Center hospital. And Georgia State Patrol allege that Thomas was under the influence when the accident occurred. He has been charged with DUI, failure to maintain lane, driving too fast for conditions, and driving in violation of license restrictions.

The National Highway and Safety Administration (NHTSA) stated that for 2008, the most recent year with data, the highest percentage of driver fatalities when the blood alcohol level was above the legal limit was for motorcycle riders. Motorcycles already have higher fatality rates than cars and other vehicles, so it makes sense that DUI fatalities are also the highest. In Georgia, the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety showed that 28 percent of Georgia accidents were alcohol related. At the same time, young drivers (those under the age of 20) accounted for 8.5 percent of Georgia drivers, but 12.8 percent of those involved in road accidents in Georgia. These statistics show the deadly combination of factors that happened with 17-year-old Mr. Thomas, who is lucky that there were no fatalities, including his own, in the accident he caused with his impaired driving. Vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death for teenagers in the US. The CDC states that in the country, seven teenagers die each day this way, which is about 2,700 teens per year.  And another 282,000 teenagers are treated for injuries related to vehicle accidents. The problem of teenage drunk driving needs to continue to be addressed and those responsible held accountable if these statistics are to improve.