Two families are preparing to bury their loved ones after a devastating accident in Cobb County changed their lives forever.
James Wheeler, 31, of Acworth, and 35-year-old Douglas “Patrick” Duff of Mableton died Sunday in a two-vehicle crash on Floyd Road at Bates Drive in Austell.
Cobb police said both men were traveling west on Bates Drive in a Toyota Yaris driven by Wheeler when the car turned left on Floyd Road and entered the path of a red 2006 Infiniti G35.
Duff and Wheeler were transported to WellStar Cobb Hospital where they were pronounced dead. The driver of the Infiniti, 19-year-old George Cambi of Austell, and his juvenile passenger were treated for non-life-threatening injuries at the same hospital.
Suzanne Wheeler said her son, James, leaves behind his girlfriend and his eight-year-old son.
“He was just a loving, caring person,” the Acworth resident said. “He had a good heart. He would help anybody. He didn’t care who it was.”
READ | 2 killed in Cobb County page
A GoFundMe page has been created to help both families pay for bills stemming from the sudden deaths. As of Tuesday, more than $1,100 has been contributed to the fund aiming to raise $5,000. Brittani Marotti, the campaign organizer, said Wheeler and Duff were the sole providers for their families.
“The last thing Pat’s wife and James’ mom needs to worry about is how they are going to pay their bills,” she wrote on the page.
Cobb police spokesman Neil Penirelli said many witnesses told officers the driver of the Infiniti was racing another vehicle moments before the crash.
“As of yesterday, they were going door to door trying to see if anyone had video of the incident as well as trying to find more witnesses,” Penirelli said of the investigators, adding he doesn’t have any more details about the juvenile passenger inside the Infiniti.
Suzanne Wheeler said while she doesn’t want to see Cambi’s life ruined, she believed the driver should face the consequences “because he took two loving fathers” from their families.
“Do I hate the boy? No.” she said. “I’m trying to forgive him, but I just don’t understand. We want him to realize that what he did causes consequences.”
The accident remains under investigation, and anyone with information is asked to call Cobb County police at 770-499-3987.
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