Manuel Dejesus Martinez, 21, was driving a Honda Accord westbound on Ga. 120 when he struck a construction worker, according to the Georgia State Patrol. 
Photo: Paulding County Sheriff’s Office
Photo: Paulding County Sheriff’s Office

Construction worker killed in Paulding hit-and-run

A road construction worker tried to jump from a trailer to safety Monday afternoon along a Paulding County highway. But he was struck and killed by a driver who failed to stop, according to investigators. 

Manuel Dejesus Martinez, 21, was driving a Honda Accord westbound on Ga. 120 in the right lane when he approached a truck with a trailer, according to the Georgia State Patrol. The trailer, which was parked partially in the right lane, had a light flashing to signal drivers to shift lanes, according to investigators. 

Leon Berry was standing on the trailer as the Honda approached, the GSP said. When it appeared the Honda wasn’t going to switch lanes, Berry jumped from the trailer and into the gore. 

Martinez attempted to pass the trailer and hit Berry, killing him, police said. Berry, 40, lived in Riverdale. 

Martinez continued driving, but several witnesses followed the Honda, helping Paulding deputies stop the driver, the GSP said. 

Martinez, of Villa Rica, was charged with vehicular homicide, reckless driving, failure to stop at an accident with injuries and driving on a closed highway, jail records showed. He was being held Tuesday on a $38,700 bond. 

The crash remains under investigation. 

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