When a Highway Crossing Turns Tragic

January 21, 2013, by

1175023_magnolia.jpgThe Gwinnett County community has had a long weekend to deal with the loss of a Berkmar High School junior. He lost his young life while doing something very ordinary -- walking. The teen was struck and killed trying to cross the Lawrenceville Highway. Our hearts go out to his family and friends as we try to comprehend the loss of a young person. As I have learned from counseling and representing many families in my Gwinnett County injury law practice, the loss of a son or daughter after a tragic accident is difficult and challenging.

The accident itself was under somewhat common, but inherently dangerous circumstances. The teen was standing in the center turning lane at James Road. As he stood waiting to cross in the morning light, a vehicle driven by a woman from Stone Mountain and traveling in the center lane northbound preparing to make a left turn, he was struck by that vehicle. He was taken to Gwinnett Medical Center after the accident and passed away there.

The driver of the vehicle that struck the teen turned herself in and has been charged with second-degree vehicular homicide, a misdemeanor as well as a far less significant turning lane violation. It is possible that weather was a factor in the accident and based on the charges, the driver's actions were not intentional. Reports indicate that speed and alcohol were not factors in this tragedy.

The charge of second degree vehicular homicide in Georgia is a lesser offense than first degree. Under the Official Code of Georgia Annotated section 40-6-393, vehicular homicide in Georgia carries various penalties depending on the severity of the charge. A driver charged with first degree vehicular homicide can receive a sentence that is from one year to 15 years in prison. There is leniency in the penalty for an unintentional homicide by vehicle or second degree as this offense carries the potential for a fine and a lesser prison sentence.

The teen had a brother who passed away as an infant. The sorrow of this young man's parents and family are felt by us all.

If you or a loved one have been injured in an accident, please contact me for a free consultation regarding your legal rights. The Law Offices of P. Charles Scholle, P.C., are conveniently located in Gwinnett County and in the Atlanta metro region.