Driver indicted in case of 9-year-old girl hit by car in front yard

A 28-year-old Lithonia man, Gabriel Fordham, turned himself in on charges that he struck LaDerihanna Holmes, 9, with his car. His attorney say he felt threatened by the girl’s family members in the yard. In surveillance video, a person walks outside of the home minutes after the crash holding what appears to be a handgun in his left hand.

A grand jury has indicted the man behind the wheel of a car that crashed into a DeKalb County home, injuring a 9-year-old girl playing in her front yard.

Gabriel Jabri Fordham, 29, turned himself in three days after the crash, which was captured on the home’s surveillance video. The dramatic footage showing the car go airborne went viral and made headlines nationally.

The March 29 wreck critically injured 9-year-old LaDerihanna Holmes as she played outside with a friend. She was taken to the hospital by a family member and is now continuing her recovery at home.

La'Derihanna Holmes is not only recovering from a fractured skull and a broken pelvic bone, but now another complication.

The indictments handed down Tuesday formally charge Fordham with serious injury by vehicle, hit and run resulting in serious injury, hit and run, reckless driving, failing to stop at a stop sign and failure to maintain lane.

“The driver crawled out of the car and fled the scene without rendering aid or providing identification,” DeKalb District Attorney Sherry Boston’s office said in a statement.


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But Fordham, though his attorneys, has said he was the victim of an armed carjacking before the car flew into the yard. His attorneys have said the passenger of the car attacked Fordham and caused him to black out before the crash.

“We are encouraged by the indictment, because now he will have his day in court and the truth will come out,” Gerald Griggs, one of his attorneys, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Thursday.

Griggs said investigators should spend more time looking for the passenger, who is shown in the footage immediately running from the car moments after the crash on Cherokee Valley Drive. He has not been identified or arrested.

Fordham left the scene several minutes later; he said he felt threatened by some of the victim’s family members, including one who fired a gun into the air. He remains held without bond, though Griggs said he intends to file another motion requesting bond.

LaDerihanna Holmes at the hospital earlier this year in her pink wheelchair.
LaDerihanna Holmes at the hospital earlier this year in her pink wheelchair.

Credit: Stewart Trial Attorneys

Credit: Stewart Trial Attorneys

Holmes became pinned between the car and what was left of the home’s exterior, and suffered a fractured skull and a broken pelvis. Her friend, 11-year-old Alayshia Phillips, was able to mostly get out of the way of the car and sustained minor injuries.

At a preliminary court hearing in March, Holmes’ mother Charlette Bolton took the stand and told Fordham she did not believe his story.

“I don't believe, not one time, that you were carjacked,” Bolton said, looking directly at the suspect.

Fordham’s girlfriend, who owns the car he was driving, also testified. She said Fordham called her immediately after the crash to tell her what happened. He said “he was robbed” and had been hit, Daugherty said.

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