Breaking: Charges likely after unborn baby dies in overnight Gwinnett County wreck

Gwinnett County – The Gwinnett County Police Department reported that a multi-vehicle wreck at about 8 p.m. on Sunday, March 24, 2019, resulted in the death of an unborn baby. The accident happened on Winder Highway near Franklin Drive in Dacula.

According to a press release from GCPD, Charles Rutledge, 37, of Lilburn was driving in a white Nissan Titan southbound on Winder Highway just south of Franklin Drive and Claudia Sanchez, 36 of Lawrenceville, was driving a grey Nissan Sentra northbound in the opposite direction. Christina Barnum, 22, of Auburn was driving in a blue Toyota 4Runner behind the grey Nissan Sentra with two passengers,  Joseph Barnum, 23  and Jason Barnum, 2. Christina Barnum was pregnant.

“According to the initial investigation, Charles crossed the double yellow lines and struck the side of the grey Nissan Sentra.  Charles’s vehicle continued southbound in the northbound lanes and struck the blue Toyota 4 Runner head-on,” said Cpl. Michele Pihera, public information officer for GCPD. “Christina, Joseph, and Jason were all transported to the hospital with serious, life-threatening injuries. Christina was in her 3rdtrimester of pregnancy.  After Christina was treated for her injuries, it was determined that her unborn baby died as a result of the collision.  Joseph was recently listed in stable condition. Jason’s condition is unknown.” (Update: The family of 2-year-old Jason has reported that he is in the hospital and is expected to be OK)

Pihera said Rutledge is suspected of being under the influence of alcohol during the time of the collision and criminal charges are likely following the conclusion of this investigation.

“This is the second traffic collision that has resulted in the death of an unborn baby in the past few weeks,” Pihera said. “Our thoughts are with the grieving families during these difficult times.”

Photo credit: Gwinnett County Police Department


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