Fatal Bus Crash in Gwinnett County
The Gwinnett Daily Post reports that a Gwinnett County Transit Bus ran a red light at the intersection of Ralph David Abernathy Boulevard and Central Avenue, colliding with a FedEx truck, then slamming into the Museum Bar at around 4:00 pm on Monday afternoon (November 11th).
The Gwinnett County Transit buses are routed to pick up passengers in Atlanta and offer express rides to the suburbs. Luckily, this one was empty at the time of the collision.
The FedEx truck however, was not empty and the collision resulted in the death of the driver of that vehicle. According to Officer John Chafee of the Atlanta Police Department, the driver of the FedEx truck, Jorge L. Pena, 41, a resident of McDonough, was killed at the scene, while the driver of the transit bus, whose name has not been released, was transported to the hospital in critical condition.
As a result of the collision, both vehicles were sent crashing into the Museum Bar, located at 181 Ralph David Abernathy Boulevard. According to reports, the building suffered some damage, the extent of which had not been determined as of Monday. The bar was not open at the time of the writing of this blog post, however.
Officer Chafee stated the bus appeared to be traveling northbound on Central Avenue when it ran a red light, striking the FedEx truck which had apparently been traveling westbound on Ralph David Abernathy. The intersection was closed for several hours while Atlanta Police conducted an investigation of the collision and removed the vehicles.
Prosecutors will apparently consider filing charges against the driver of the transit bus, depending on if and when he is released from the hospital. Vehicular Homicide in the Second Degree is the most likely charge which could result in fines up to $1000 plus court costs and surcharges, 12 months in jail, and 12 months of probation.
The Georgia Code defines Homicide by Vehicle as follows:
(a) Any person who, without malice aforethought, causes the death of another person through the violation of subsection (a) of Code Section 40-6-163, Code Section 40-6-390 or 40-6-391, or subsection (a) of Code Section 40-6-395 commits the offense of homicide by vehicle in the first degree and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than three years nor more than 15 years.
(b) Any driver of a motor vehicle who, without malice aforethought, causes an accident which causes the death of another person and leaves the scene of the accident in violation of subsection (b) of Code Section 40-6-270 commits the offense of homicide by vehicle in the first degree and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than three years nor more than 15 years.
(c) Any person who causes the death of another person, without an intention to do so, by violating any provision of this title other than subsection (a) of Code Section 40-6-163, subsection (b) of Code Section 40-6-270, Code Section 40-6-390 or 40-6-391, or subsection (a) of Code Section 40-6-395 commits the offense of homicide by vehicle in the second degree when such violation is the cause of said death and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished as provided in Code Section 17-10-3.
(d) Any person who, after being declared a habitual violator as determined under Code Section 40-5-58 and while such person's license is in revocation, causes the death of another person, without malice aforethought, by operation of a motor vehicle, commits the offense of homicide by vehicle in the first degree and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than five years nor more than 20 years, and adjudication of guilt or imposition of such sentence for a person so convicted may be suspended, probated, deferred, or withheld but only after such person shall have served at least one year in the penitentiary.
Without additional evidence the facts uncovered so far indicate that Prosecutors may file a charge of Homicide by Vehicle in the Second Degree, as listed in paragraph (c) above which does not require any particular mental state or intent and would be an accident caused by a violation of some traffic law, in this case, running a red light.
Prosecutors will need an eyewitness to the events leading up to the accident, and will have to prove the driver of the transit bus actually ran the red light, thereby causing the crash. If in fact, it was the driver of the FedEx truck that ran the red light, the transit bus operator is not at fault. The news articles and police interviews did not mention the presence of any eye witnesses, but it is still possible that Atlanta Police have the names of people who may be able to shed light on the circumstances surrounding the collision.
Without an eyewitness, prosecutors may still file the charge, but would have a hard time proving the case, especially if the driver of the transit bus is represented by experienced defense counsel.
Richard S. Lawson, having practiced DUI law for almost 20 years, is an experienced Gwinnett County DUI lawyer and has the credentials and reputation necessary to handle cases like this and any other traffic related offenses.
If you have been arrested in Gwinnett County or anywhere in North Georgia or Metro Atlanta for a DUI or any other traffic related offense, contact the Law Offices of Richard S. Lawson immediately at (404) 816-4440 to schedule your free consultation.
You can also use the Contact form on this website. Richard Lawson is the top-ranked AVVO DUI defense attorney in North Georgia and Atlanta. He is the Gwinnett County DUI Attorney that was formerly a prosecutor who will bring that experience to your case, resulting in the best possible outcome.