FATAL HIT AND RUN IN MARIETTA - UPDATE
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that Marietta Police have taken Dannie Albert Mondor into custody, following a fatal hit and run collision on I-75 in Cobb County on Saturday. According to police Mr. Mondor, driving an RV with Florida tags, struck a white Toyota Camry, causing it to swerve across several lanes of traffic, striking a black Toyota Prius, among other vehicles. The Prius then hit the guard rail causing it to flip over, injuring the driver and killing the passenger, who was partially ejected from the car.
Police began a search for the vehicle, issuing a plea for information leading to the vehicle's whereabouts. Apparently, while they were doing so, Mr. Mondor was in contact with Atlanta police, finally reporting the accident. According to Mr. Mondor's attorney, he did stop at the scene, but then left, contacting 911 approximately an hour later from the Walmart on Howell Mill Road. Mr. Mondor contends that his client complied with the law and should not be charged with Leaving the Scene of an Accident.
According to Georgia law, if a motorist is involved in a collision, he is required to comply with the following:
(a) The driver of any vehicle involved in an accident resulting in injury to or the death of any person or in damage to a vehicle which is driven or attended by any person shall immediately stop such vehicle at the scene of the accident or shall stop as close thereto as possible and forthwith return to the scene of the accident and shall
(1) Give his or her name and address and the registration number of the vehicle he or she is driving;
(2) Upon request and if it is available, exhibit his or her operator's license to the person struck or the driver or occupant of or person attending any vehicle collided with;
(3) Render to any person injured in such accident reasonable assistance, including the transporting, or the making of arrangements for the transporting, of such person to a physician, surgeon, or hospital for medical or surgical treatment if it is apparent that such treatment is necessary or if such transporting is requested by the injured person; and
(4) Where a person injured in such accident is unconscious, appears deceased, or is otherwise unable to communicate, make every reasonable effort to ensure that emergency medical services and local law enforcement are contacted for the purpose of reporting the accident and making a request for assistance. The driver shall in every event remain at the scene of the accident until fulfilling the requirements of this subsection. Every such stop shall be made without obstructing traffic more than is necessary.
(b) If such accident is the proximate cause of death or a serious injury, any person knowingly failing to stop and comply with the requirements of subsection (a) of this Code section shall be guilty of a felony and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than one nor more than five years.
Being a Canadian citizen, police took Mr. Mondor into custody after contacting him in Cape Coral, Florida where he owns property. Mr. Mondor's vehicle was located by police in Cape Coral and he surrendered himself into police custody there. He was charged with Leaving the Scene of an Accident and Vehicular Homicide, both felonies and is being held in Cobb County Jail without bond.
Mr. Mondor's attorney delivered a statement outside of the jailhouse on Tuesday, stating that the Hit and Run charge is the result of a lack of communication between police departments. He expressed sympathy for the families of the victims but stated that Mr. Mondor "stopped his vehicle along with a lot of other vehicles...He absolutely called the police and waited for the police to arrive."
Mondor maintains that he provided an Atlanta police officer with information about the crash and with his personal information. It is unclear exactly where and when he did this according to the report, but prosecutors are sticking to their guns at this point and not dismissing the Hit and Run charge.
Homicide by vehicle is defined in Georgia as:
(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.
The charge of Homicide by Vehicle relies heavily upon proof of the underlying charges of Hit and Run, Reckless Driving and/or DUI. In this case, if the State cannot prove the Hit and Run, they cannot prove the Homicide by Vehicle. There is also a defense that might arise because the passenger who was killed was not wearing a seatbelt. An argument can be made that but for the fact that the victim was not wearing a seatbelt he would not have been killed, and that while the accident was a contributing factor to the death, it was not the cause.
If you have been charged with any vehicular offenses in Cobb County, or anywhere in North Georgia, you need effective and experienced defense counsel. The Law Offices of Richard S. Lawson have been defending people in vehicle cases for over twenty years. He is a top ranked AVVO attorney and will represent you vigorously throughout your case, making sure the State does not trample your rights.