Text came just before deadly crash, say Cobb police

A Douglas County woman had just received a text message and was talking on her cell phone when she allegedly caused a crash that killed a popular youth basketball coach, Cobb County police said.

Danielle Kuulei Garcia, 26, was charged with second-degree homicide by vehicle, following too closely, driving with an expired license and distracted driving for the March 10 wreck on C.H. James Parkway near Austell, according to an arrest warrant obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

A one-month investigation by Cobb County police resulted in an arrest warrant issued Friday for Garcia, who was driving a Mazda pickup truck at the time of the crash. Monday morning, Garcia surrendered and was booked into the Cobb jail, where she was being held on $50,000 Tuesday afternoon.

Katrina M. Cook, 36, of Hiram, died at the scene of the fiery wreck, which involved several vehicles. Garcia was not seriously injured.According to her arrest warrant, Garcia had received a text message on her cell phone moments before the crash, but she deleted it before allowing police to see her phone.

“Accused also received multiple phone calls and placed a phone call at the time of the collision,” the arrest warrant states.

Cook had been working with the Powder Springs Youth Basketball League for a year, but had taken over the girl’s program, and league President Wade Douglas told Channel 2 Action News one of her teams won a county title.

“It’s unfortunate that something like a phone call or text message or something couldn’t wait, you know, and could eventually change the life of not only her and her family, but I’m sure the driver and anyone else impacted in the collision,” Douglas said Monday.

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