Every day he thinks about what he did last year on May 25, Tansu Kanlica told the court Wednesday morning.
That day he chased a man who owed him $175, lost control of his car, and plowed into three teenage girls in Cobb County. One died instantly, one died five days later and a third was seriously injured.
He sobbed and apologized to the families of the two teenagers he killed. Then, the 29-year-old was sentenced to 30 years in prison, with the possibility of parole in 20 years.
After striking the girls, Kanlica didn’t stop.
“You will never, ever know what it feels like to have a nurse tell you that they’re not treating your child, that she was never brought to the hospital, that she was left on the side of the road, dying in someone else’s arms,” Rashida Oliver, Reina’s mother, told Kanlica from the stand on Wednesday morning.
Reina, who attended Tri-Cities High School in East Point, died at the scene of the wreck. Juliana, who attended Sprayberry High School, died from her injuries at WellStar Kennestone Hospital. A third teenager, Monica Epps, survived the crash.
Through tears, relatives told the court how many lives have been affected since the best friends were killed as they walked on a sidewalk. Many seated in the courtroom silently wiped at tears as the girls’ mothers explained how their families are forever changed.
“They were all inseparable,” Jane Ferrell, Juliana’s mom, told the court. “They’re buried together, one right on top of the other.”
Investigators believe Kanlica, a locksmith, was chasing a customer who didn’t pay him, when he lost control of his Nissan 350Z on Barrett Lakes Boulevard and left the roadway, crossed the sidewalk and struck the girls. He was found several miles away at I-75 and Canton Road, where he was arrested.
The man Kanlica allegedly was chasing, Garrett Anderson of Kennesaw, was arrested the following day. According to arrest warrants, Anderson failed to pay Kanlica $175 for locksmith work, prompting Kanlica to chase the other man’s vehicle.
Ashley Garcia, Juliana’s sister, told the court she would have paid much more than that to have her sister’s life spared.
“I will never get over losing her,” Garcia said. “She was robbed of all of her dreams, and we were robbed of ours.”
Kanlica was convicted of homicide by vehicle in the first degree, hit-and-run and serious injury by vehicle.
A grand jury indicted both Kanlica and Anderson in August. Anderson was also charged with two counts of homicide by vehicle and serious injury by vehicle.
Kanlica has been held in the Cobb County jail without bond since his arrest, booking records showed. After his release from prison, he must pay $196,000 in restitution and return to his native Turkey, Judge Reuben Green said.
Anderson, who was released on bond, is scheduled to appear in court on April 20.
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.