Georgia crashes kill 15 over New Year’s weekend

A man on a bicycle was struck and killed by a vehicle Dec. 30 in Smyrna, according to police. (Credit: Smyrna Police Department)

Credit: Smyrna Police Department

Credit: Smyrna Police Department

A man on a bicycle was struck and killed by a vehicle Dec. 30 in Smyrna, according to police. (Credit: Smyrna Police Department)

Crashes on Georgia roads killed 15 people over the New Year’s holiday weekend, according to the Georgia Department of Public Safety.

That’s one less than the number killed during the recent Christmas holiday. And one less than during the 2021 New Year’s holiday.

Although alcohol was believed to be a factor in at least one metro Atlanta crash, speed and distracted driving were likely culprits in other crashes, according to investigators.

The 78-hour New Year’s holiday period began at 6 p.m. Thursday and ended at 11:59 p.m. Sunday.

On Thursday night, a man riding a bicycle was struck and killed by a motorist in Cobb County, according to the Smyrna Police Department.

Lt. Louis Defense said the incident happened before 9 p.m. on Windy Hill Road at Village Parkway. The man, who was in his 50s, was riding his bicycle when the vehicle hit him, Defense said. The driver remained at the scene.

“Roads are extremely slick. We ask our pedestrians and motorists to be mindful of each other and take extra safety precautions,” Defense said after the crash.

Also late Thursday, a pedestrian on I-85 was struck and killed by a tractor-trailer, according to Gwinnett County police.

Less than three hours into the new year, a separate Cobb crash killed a 30-year-old Cartersville man, according to police. The crash happened about 2:30 a.m. on Dallas Acworth Highway near Autumn View Drive, Sgt. Wayne Delk with Cobb police said.

Investigators believe Robert Godhigh, 30, of Dallas was driving a Hyundai Santa Fe southbound when he tried to pass a Ford Escape that was also traveling southbound. That’s when Godhigh allegedly struck a Ford Focus head-on, causing his Hyundai to spin and also hit the Escape, police said.

The crash killed the driver of the Focus, Jermaine Wilkins, who died at the scene, Delk said. Wilkins was the father of an 11-year-old, according to his family.

Godhigh was charged with first-degree vehicular homicide, driving under the influence and improper passing, police said.

Around 12:30 a.m. on New Year’s Day, a man was killed in an ATV crash on Hidden Branches Trail near Hickory Flat Highway, according to the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office. The driver of the Polaris ATV, Tameron Gayton, 42, of Dawsonville, died at the scene. Two passengers were on the ATV at the time of the crash but were not injured, according to investigators.

Also early Saturday, a driver was killed in a fiery crash in Atlanta, according to police. The fatal wreck occurred around 3 a.m. on the on-ramp leading from Ga. 400 to I-85 South. Officers arrived and found a Toyota Scion engulfed in flames with the driver dead inside.

Investigators believe the vehicle struck a concrete barrier wall, causing the car to flip over and burst into flames.

Police in DeKalb County and the city of Albany’s police department also investigated deadly crashes, according to the DPS. State troopers from the following posts also investigated fatal crashes: Marietta, Villa Rica, Athens, Thomaston, Thomasville and Brunswick.