Driver to serve 5 years for DUI crash that killed 91-year-old veteran

Giovanni "John" Spadafora died Feb. 23, 2020, following a crash at Sandy Plains and Davis roads in Cobb County. He was 91.

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Giovanni "John" Spadafora died Feb. 23, 2020, following a crash at Sandy Plains and Davis roads in Cobb County. He was 91.

A Marietta man will serve five years in prison for driving drunk and killing a 91-year-old veteran, according to Cobb County court records.

John James Hamm, 44, will spend an additional 10 years on probation after pleading guilty to first-degree vehicular homicide. Hamm must also pay a $1,000 fine, according to the terms of the plea deal. On Wednesday, he was being held at the Cobb jail.

In February 2020, Hamm admitted to officers he’d had three beers before being involved in a crash that killed Giovanni “John” Spadafora of Marietta, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution previously reported. Both breath and blood tests confirmed that Hamm was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the crash, according to Cobb police.

ExploreCobb police: Driver was DUI in crash that killed 91-year-old veteran

The fatal crash remained under investigation for about three months before Hamm was charged with first-degree vehicular homicide, DUI and reckless driving, his arrest warrant states.

According to investigators and witnesses, Hamm was driving a 2006 Infiniti G35 north on Sandy Plains Road shortly after 5:30 p.m. on Feb. 23. He was seen weaving and speeding, witnesses told police.

“Speed calculations prior to the collision put the vehicle traveling at 70 mph or more,” Hamm’s arrest warrant states. “Witnesses stated he was tailgating and traveling 65 mph, and never applied the brakes prior to impact.”

As Hamm approached the intersection with Davis Road, the driver of a 1999 Mazda B3000 pickup truck attempted to turn in front of him, according to police. Hamm struck the truck, driven by Spadafora.

At the scene, Hamm submitted to a breath test, in which his alcohol level was recorded at .212, according to police. A search warrant was later executed and Hamm’s blood and urine samples were taken, his warrant states. His blood-alcohol level was measured at .204. A BAC of .08 is the legal limit for Georgia drivers.

Spadafora was a great-grandfather and veteran of both the U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Army, according to his online obituary. Spadafora was buried in his native New York with military honors.

“He was a true patriot who loved our country and all it stands for,” the obituary states.