Driver charged in wreck that killed 19-year-old National Guard recruit

Savanna Joyce Martin
Savanna Joyce Martin

Credit: GoFundMe

Credit: GoFundMe

Investigators believe 20-year-old was driving drunk at the time of the crash

A 20-year-old driver has been charged in a crash on I-75 that killed a teenage National Guard recruit in August, the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office said Tuesday.

Investigators believe Benjamin Land, 20, was intoxicated when he lost control of the car he was driving and hit a guardrail near the Priest Road overpass Aug. 22, spokesman Capt. Jay Baker said in an emailed statement. Land then left the road and hit a tree, Baker said.

When Land hit the tree, his passenger, 19-year-old Savanna Martin, was ejected from the car. The Cartersville woman was pronounced dead at the scene, according to officials.

Martin was enlisted in the National Guard and was weeks away from beginning basic training when she died, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution previously reported.

“My daughter was a wonderful person inside and out,” Richard Martin Sr. said. “She was very much in love with her boyfriend. She had plans for her life, and she was stripped of that.”

During a September interview, Richard Martin said Land was a friend of his daughter’s boyfriend. Martin had a military funeral and several veterans attended the service.

Land was charged with first-degree vehicular homicide, reckless driving, driving under the influence and failure to maintain lane. He was arrested Tuesday and was being held without bond at the Cherokee jail, Baker said.

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