A car struck a prison inmate, causing his death, while he was on work detail on Wednesday morning. The prison inmate, Hunter O'Conner, was struck while he was holding the stop/slow sign to alert drivers in the area. He died on the scene on Lawrenceville Highway in Gwinnett County.
We express our regrets to the victim and his family.
Jennifer Adkins, the driver of the car that struck and killed O'Conner, has been charged with second degree vehicular homicide, distracted driving, and following too closely.
There will be further investigations into the cause of the crash, but at this point drugs, alcohol and speed are not components of the crime.
Vehicular Homicide in Georgia is separated into two different degrees.
First-Degree Vehicular Homicide in Georgia:
When a person, without malice aforethought, a death is caused by the person either unlawfully passing a school bus, reckless driving, fleeing or attempting to elude a police officer, or leaving the scene of the accident. O.C.G.A. §40-6-393.
Vehicular homicide in the first-degree is when a death results from any of the following offenses: DUI in Georgia, Reckless Driving in Georgia, Unlawful Passing a School Bus in Georgia, Fleeing or Attempting to Elude a Police Officer in Georgia, and Hit and Run - Leaving the Scene of an Accident in Georgia.
A first-degree vehicular homicide conviction is considered a felony in Georgia. A conviction may include up to three to fifteen years in prison.
However, if a person is a Habitual Violator in Georgia and his or her license has already been suspended or revoked, the penalty is higher if charged with first-degree vehicular homicide. The punishment can be elevated to five to twenty years in prison.
So based on the present facts, unless the blood work comes back to the contrary, as long as alcohol or drugs were not involved in the present case, it will be considered a misdemeanor second-degree vehicular homicide.
Second-Degree Vehicular Homicide in Georgia:
When a death results due to a violation of any other statute other than the ones specified for homicide in the first degree. (O.C.G.A. §40-6-393)
Vehicular homicide in the second-degree is when a death results from a violation of basic traffic laws. This is considered the second-degree homicide by vehicle mentioned in the statute above. Basic traffic law violations include Speeding in Georgia, Failure to Maintain Lane in Georgia, Following Too Closely in Georgia, etc.
A second-degree vehicular homicide conviction is considered a misdemeanor in Georgia. A conviction may include up to a year in jail and fines up to $1,000.
If you or a loved one has been charged with vehicular homicide in Georgia, contact a Georgia DUI Lawyer today. Vehicular homicide is a horrific charge. The death of another person is both a terrible and life-altering experience - regardless of how it happens.
The state will have to prove that the driver caused the death another through his or her actions - and the truth is that a death does not automatically mean that the accused driver is responsible. Contact us today.