A Tennessee man is facing a vehicular homicide charge after a March 18 crash on I-285 in Sandy Springs killed a passenger in his SUV.
The incident is the latest in a wave of fatal crashes that has the Sandy Springs police chief asking for two more officers dedicated to traffic enforcement.
The March 18 crash death came when the driver attempted to avoid a previous accident, according to the Sandy Springs Police Department. Around 9 a.m., police say, a three-vehicle accident occurred on I-285 eastbound near Roswell Road.
The second accident came when David Cho, 61, of Ooltewah, Tenn., attempted to avoid the first crash scene while driving a Toyota Sequoia SUV. Police say he lost control and hit a guardrail, causing the vehicle to overturn. A passenger in the SUV, Susan Cho, 54, was partially ejected from the vehicle and pinned beneath it, according to police. She was pronounced dead at the scene by the Fulton County Medical Examiner.
David Cho was injured and transported to a local hospital, according to police. He faces charges of second-degree vehicular homicide and failure to maintain the lane.
Fatal crashes a concern
Traffic fatalities are “the thing that concerns me as far as policing here in Sandy Springs,” Police Chief Ken DeSimone told the City Council at its annual retreat on Jan. 23.
The police boasted about crime stats showing there were no non-vehicular homicides reported in the city in 2017. But traffic-related deaths are running about 10 a year, and “fully half” are on surface streets, not highways, DeSimone said.
Just three weeks into 2018, the city had already seen one fatal accident, DeSimone reported: a Roswell Road crash were the driver appeared to have exceeded 100 mph.
The three main causes of fatal accidents in the city, DeSimone said, are speeding; driving while impaired by alcohol or other drugs; and driving while distracted by such activities as texting.
DeSimone said the police saw several accidents in 2017 where drivers ran into the rear of parked semi trucks, likely while texting.
“I think distracted driving is almost a bigger threat than drunk driving was years ago,” DeSimone told the council, noting it is a widespread activity often encouraged by devices built into vehicle dashboards. “I’m sure there’s probably a lot of people in this room who do the same thing.”
Meanwhile, drunk driving stats are dropping, DeSimone said, likely due to the rise of bar-goers using ride-rental services such as Lyft and Uber.
His request for two traffic officers would bring the force up to its complete full-time complement of 142 officers.