After a fun gathering at a relative's home in Douglasville, Sameyka Rochel Welch drove behind her dad until she turned to get on I-20. It was the last time Ed Ford would see his oldest daughter alive.
Ford headed to his Austell home, as Welch, her two small children and her boyfriend headed to their Atlanta home.
"When I pulled in my driveway, that's when I got a phone call," Ford said Saturday evening, as the family gathered at his home.
According to the Atlanta Police Department, Robert Ayiteyfio was drunk when he drove his Toyota Camry west on an eastbound lane of I-20 around 3:30 a.m. The Camry slammed into Welch’s Ford Taurus near the Langhorn Street exit west of the Downtown Connector.
Welch died later at the hospital. Her boyfriend remained at Grady Hospital Saturday night, Ford said.
"People die sometimes," Ford said. "But sometimes, they die for the wrong reason."
The two children were taken to Egleston Children's Hospital. Their injuries are believed to be non-life threatening. Ford said one child is 2 years old and the other is 1o months. When they are released from the hospital, the children will live with Ford and his wife, Cassandra, he said.
An off-duty police officer had seen the Toyota going in the wrong direction moments before the crash and had called for help.
Later, while being questioned by an APD DUI Task Force officer, Ayiteyfio ran, police said.
He was caught and taken to the Fulton County Jail on charges of driving under the influence of alcohol, homicide by vehicle and driving the wrong way. Ayiteyfio was denied bond later Saturday.
Two hours after the crash, an APD officer helping with the accident investigation was hit by a car. The officer, who was not identified, is in stable condition, police said.
Welch, one of eight children, attended Carver High School, Ford said. His oldest daughter was devoted to her children, and was a fun, caring person, he said.
The family had planned to spend Saturday watching a young nephew's championship football game. Instead, they gathered to remember Welch.
"She was a fun girl," said her uncle, Andricus Haynes. "She did a lot for everybody.
"She spoke her mind, always kept you laughing," Haynes said. "We miss her."
- Rhonda Cook contributed to this report
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