As reported in the AJC, last summer, 18-year-old Cameron Childers crashed his Dodge truck into a tree when he drove off of Hightower Road and sped down an embankment. The passenger in the vehicle, his 16-year-old friend, Mahlon Thornton was fatally injured. Childers was indicted on Tuesday on two counts Vehicular Homicide, DUI, and Reckless Driving.
Before Childers' indictment, Thornton's parents told reporters that they don't blame Childers for the tragedy that occurred and that they did not want the boy to go to jail, stating, “He's not a criminal. There was no criminal intent here.”
Unfortunately for Childers, his intent was not considered.
Vehicular Homicide in Georgia
Georgia has two types of vehicular homicide: first degree and second degree. First-degree vehicular homicide is a felony and involves any of the following: driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or both, reckless driving, overtaking or meeting a school bus, fleeing from police, failing to stop for police, not stopping for a collision, committing a “hit and run”, or being a habitual violator.
Second-degree vehicular homicide is defined as causing the death of another person while committing any other traffic offense.
In all states, including Georgia, Vehicular Homicide does not require criminal intent or malice in order for an individual to be charged. Most automobile accidents are the fault of a negligent or inattentive driver. Courts hold drivers accountable for not exercising the highest level of care and attention when operating a vehicle.
Childers was also indicted on DUI and Reckless Driving. He was allegedly high on drugs when he crashed the vehicle, and a toxicology report confirmed the allegation.
DUI Less Safe (Drugs) in Georgia
Driving under the influence isn't limited to only alcohol. You can be charged with a DUI for driving while impaired by drugs whether they are illegal, prescription, or over the counter O.C.G.A. §40-6-391(a)(2). Even if you refused to take the chemical test, it is still possible for the prosecution to charge and convict you of a DUI less safe. Prosecutors can use evidence of impairment such as erratic driving, bloodshot eyes, dilated or constricted pupils, or slurred speech. They can also use an admission of drug use or evidence of drugs in your vehicle.
If you have been charged with a DUI, Reckless Driving, or Vehicular Homicide, you need a Georgia Criminal Defense Lawyer to protect your rights and to help you to achieve the best possible outcome. With over 50 combined years of experience, Lawson and Berry know exactly how to assist with your case. Contact us today for a free case evaluation. Our Georgia Criminal Defense Attorneys are here to help.