Griffin man killed in hit-and-run before meeting newborn daughter

Deandre Head, 31, was an aspiring gospel artist who loved to sing, according to family members. Head was struck by a car and killed Wednesday night in a Spalding County hit-and-run. (Credit: Facebook)

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Deandre Head, 31, was an aspiring gospel artist who loved to sing, according to family members. Head was struck by a car and killed Wednesday night in a Spalding County hit-and-run. (Credit: Facebook)

Suspect charged with vehicular homicide

Deandre Head loved to sing.

It was a lifelong ministry that took root early for the 31-year-old Griffin man. When he was 3 years old, Head began singing and imitating the pastor of his childhood church in Jackson.

He played three instruments and was the lead singer of a gospel band that for years performed across North Georgia.

“It was born in him,” said Head’s aunt, Anita Harps. “He sang when he was 3 years old, and it seemed like it was a gift that God had given him.”

Not only did Head have a song in his heart, he was a man with a newfound apple of his eye.

His daughter was born Tuesday, but Head wasn’t able to be there to welcome the baby to the world. COVID-19 restrictions prevented him from visiting the hospital, Harps said.

Head looked forward to meeting his daughter for the first time when she got home from the hospital this week.

But his life was tragically cut short Wednesday night when he was struck by a car in a hit-and-run crash.

ExplorePedestrian killed, driver sought in Spalding County hit-and-run

Jacob Lee Nelson, 25, of Griffin, was driving a Dodge Charger southbound on Patterson Road when he struck and killed Head, who was walking on the shoulder of the road, according to the Georgia State Patrol. The Spalding County Sheriff’s Office issued a bulletin indicating the Charger was seen fleeing the scene following the fatal collision.

Nelson was arrested late Wednesday and faces charges of vehicular homicide, leaving the scene of an accident with death, duty to make immediate report of accident and failure to maintain lane. Online booking records show he remains held without bond at the Spalding County Jail.

“I would like him to be held accountable, even if that means him doing some time, because he left the scene,” Harps said of the suspect.

A specialized collision team is still working to reconstruct the crash scene as part of the State Patrol’s ongoing investigation, an agency spokesperson said Thursday.

Condolences and heartfelt farewells continued to pour in over social media from family members and friends.

“It’s just hard on us,” Head’s cousin, Randolph Head, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution during a phone interview Thursday night. “He was a fine guy. You couldn’t ask for a better person. And it just seemed like he was getting ready to turn his life around.”

Harps took in Deandre and raised him after his mother died from health complications when he was 16. Deandre’s father was also a musician. He died just a few years prior during Deandre’s earlier teenage years, Harps said.

Deandre was 18 when he started singing for the Gospel Challengers, a six-member group led by Maranatha International Christian Church Bishop Lee Moore. He was the lead vocalist, lead drummer, a bass guitarist and played the keyboards.

Harps, who was also a member of the group, remembers traveling as far as South Carolina to perform alongside her nephew. They even recorded two albums together.

“He would sing all the time. Every time you (saw) him, he was going to sing you something,” Harps said. “Deandre was loved by everyone he met because he had that kind of spirit, and you could feel it. The anointing of God was on him every time he opened his mouth.”

Had Deandre lived, he would’ve met his daughter Thursday. Instead, Harps was left to break the heartbreaking news to the child and her mother.

“He never got a chance to see her, and that’s what hurts me the most because he lived for his children. And he definitely wanted to take part in her life,” she said.

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