Driver faces upgraded charges in 2020 crash that killed 17-year-old Barrow girl

A driver who fatally struck a teenager on her bicycle two years ago in Barrow County is now facing more charges.

Chrissy Rawlins was originally charged only with driving under the influence while high on methamphetamine and two counts of endangering a child while DUI because authorities said the August 2020 crash was “unavoidable,” according to a Georgia State Patrol investigative summary obtained Wednesday by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

But more than two years later, Rawlins now faces nine misdemeanor charges, including vehicular homicide, in the death of Obianuju Osuegbu, Channel 2 Action News reported.

The 17-year-old was struck about 8:40 p.m. on Aug. 23, 2020, while riding her electric bike north on Jefferson Highway near Pendergrass Road, an incident report shows.

“Osuegbu was traveling near the center of the northbound lane when the impact occurred,” the GSP report states. “The bicycle that Ms. Osuegbu was riding did not appear to have any functional taillights or headlights.”

Rawlins’ vehicle, a Ford Taurus, struck the rear of Osuegbu’s bike. Photos from the scene gathered during the investigation revealed a dented hood and shattered windshield with a hole in the middle.

She told a trooper that “she didn’t see anything but the lights of other cars” and “wasn’t sure what she had hit.” The trooper wrote in the incident report that he did “not see any lights on the bicycle” and “did not see any helmet that would have been used” by Osuegbu.

Rawlins was arrested but faced only two charges. According to the GSP report, additional charges were not warranted due to other factors.

“It was dark when this collision occurred. Due to the lack of visibility, no noticeable lighting on the bicycle, a grade in the roadway, and short reaction time when Ms. Rawlins first observed Ms. Osuegbu, Ms. Rawlins striking Ms. Osuegbu was an unavoidable collision,” the investigative summary states.

The family’s attorney, Bruce Hagen, told the news station there were reflectors on the bike.

“Both the solicitor’s office and the district attorney’s office took a fresh look at the facts and were able to get beyond the errors in the police report,” he said.

According to court documents, Rawlins is now charged with second-degree vehicular homicide, two counts of driving under the influence, two counts of endangering a child while DUI, following too closely, two counts of reckless conduct, and driving too fast for conditions.

The teen’s mother, Pauline Osuegbu, told Channel 2 she is relieved to see the driver who struck her daughter now charged with vehicular homicide.

“At least now somebody’s doing something about it,” she said. “We’re very pleased to see after two years of trying to push the prosecution to do something here, that something was done.”

Hagen told Channel 2 that the nine misdemeanor charges can be upgraded to felonies, something the teen’s mother would like to see.

“I’m not going to give up, I’m not going to give up until justice is served,” Osuegbu said.