The difficulties posed by vehicular homicide cases that include both DUI and fleeing and/or hit-and-run charges are illustrated in this recent Rockdale County, Georgia vehicular homicide case. In misdemeanor cases involving DUI and hit-and-run charges, the State frequently has difficulty proving beyond a reasonable doubt that a driver was impaired at the time of an accident. Sometimes we are successful in arguing that the State cannot establish with any degree of certainty that the driver was under the influence when the accident occurred.
However, avoiding liability for the DUI charge does not help if you are convicted of felony vehicular homicide as a result of the hit-and-run charge. As we have discussed previously, DUI vehicular homicide or hit-and-run vehicular homicide may result in a prison sentence of up to 15 years.
Driver in Rockdale County crash charged with vehicular homicide
Police chase ends with deadly crash in Rockdale County
By Alexis Stevens
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
The DeKalb County woman accused of causing a fatal wreck while fleeing from deputies Thursday night remained in jail Tuesday on a long list of charges.
Kidistz Temesgen, 39, of Decatur, has been charged with first degree vehicular homicide, serious injury by vehicle, fleeing and attempting to elude, hit and run, reckless driving and driving under the influence, according to Rockdale County jail records. Temesgen is also facing other driving violations, including failure to maintain lane and following too closely, in connection with the Oct. 9 crash, which injured several people.
Temesgen is accused of causing a hit-and-run crash at a gas station on Sigman Road, then attempting to flee from Rockdale deputies. According to the Georgia State Patrol, Temesgen was attempting to avoid being stopped when she caused the fatal crash on Sigman Road.
Temesgen's Santa Fe was traveling west on Sigman Road when it struck a 2013 Kia Optima SX, which in turn struck a 2004 Chevrolet Silverado, both of which were stopped at a traffic light at Old Covington Highway, the GSP said. After the initial impacts, the Santa Fe and the Optima each struck Rockdale patrol vehicles.
The driver of the Optima, 51-year-old Yuwadee Theerakanok, of Jonesboro, was killed. Her passenger, 52-year-old Somphone Vongvilay, also of Jonesboro, was injured and flown to Grady Memorial Hospital.
Two others injured in the wreck were transported to Rockdale Medical Center.
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