Guilty plea entered in vehicular homicide that resulted in the death of a 17-year-old

Walton County DA urges families to tell their young drivers to drive safely

WALTON COUNTY, GA (Nov. 22, 2023) Alcovy Judicial Circuit Court District Attorney Randy McGinley announced that a young man pleaded guilty recently to vehicular homicide and other charges for causing the death of one of his friends and seriously injuring another.

The conviction stems from an incident that happened last March when four 17-year-olds were in a car driving north on Highway 81. According to the record, “the driver was traveling at speeds approaching 100 mph when he attempted to avoid another vehicle. He lost control, left the roadway, and struck a tree. At the time of impact, the vehicle was still traveling 85 mph. The two rear passengers were seriously injured. One of them later died from those injuries.

“A 17-year-old, a young man with his whole life in front of him, dead because of the reckless driving of another 17 year old. That 17-year-old driver is now headed to prison,” McGinley said. “A family will forever miss their son at every future Thanksgiving and Christmas. Another family has a son that will forever deal with the effects of the injuries suffered. And another family will have a son in prison for years. That young driver will forever live with the fact that he caused the death of another young man, a friend of his.”

McGinley said the driver was sentenced to 25 years with the first 4 in confinement and the rest on probation.

“While on probation, he will not be allowed to drive without permission from the court and he cannot consume or possess alcohol or any THC/CBD products. The Court allowed him to be sentenced as a first offender as well,” McGinley said. “If he successfully completes everything in his sentence, this would come off his record. I believe the Court allowed that based on what appeared to be a genuine acceptance of responsibility and remorse. But those things do not undo what happened or bring a family’s loved one back.”

McGinley said it is his hope that everyone keeps the families of the victims in their thoughts and prayers. 

“Tell your kids to drive safely. Say it every time they leave the house. Be annoyingly persistent about it. Talk to them about the consequences if they don’t drive safely,” McGinley said.

McGinley thanked the Walton County GA Sheriff’s Office and the Georgia State Patrol for their work on this case. The prosecution was handled by Chief ADA Cliff Howard, Chief Investigator Josh Chambers, Victim Services Director Kim Kelly, and Legal Assistant Lucy Repp.

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