While an accident that claims a life is undoubtedly tragic for all involved, there are only a few circumstances where the driver would be charged with a felony. The felony is called first-degree vehicular homicide. The penalty for this crime in Georgia is between three and fifteen years in prison per death.
In order to be charged with first-degree vehicular homicide in Georgia driver must have been involved in an accident that claimed a life while violating Georgia’s DUI or reckless driving laws. It can also be charged if the driver was fleeing from police, committed a hit-and-run, or illegally passed a school bus. A driver may be charged with this offense if they were driving on a suspended license.
The AJC reports that a DUI suspect has been charged in a Gainesville crash that killed his passenger.
The accident occurred on Sunday morning on Thompson Bridge Road in Gainesville.
According to police, 20-year-old Jommar Gabriel Lopez was driving a Toyota Corolla north on Thompson Bridge Road. He lost control of the vehicle, causing it to spin out of control. The vehicle then slid down an embankment, where it hit several trees.
A 20-year-old passenger in Lopez’s vehicle was ejected and killed in the crash.
Lopez suffered from injuries in the crash and was taken to Northeast Georgia Medical Center for treatment. He was still wearing a neck brace in his booking photo.
Lopez has been charged with first-degree homicide by vehicle, driving under the influence, speeding, reckless driving, failure to maintain lane, driving on the wrong side of the road, open container, underage consumption of alcohol, and driving on an expired learner’s permit.
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