Tom Jones reports

5 charged with DUI in early morning 7-car pile-up in Clayton County

At least five people involved in an early morning, seven-car pile-up on I-75 have been charged with drunken driving, police said.

The pedestrian who police believe started the chain of wrecks was also charged, Clayton County Police spokeswoman Officer Danielle Rosa said.

“The pedestrian started walking into the interstate,” Rosa said. “That’s what kind of caused the seven-car pile-up.”

The pedestrian, who was taken to a nearby hospital in critical condition, faces a pedestrian in roadway charge, police said.

Shortly after 3 a.m., the pedestrian entered the southbound side of I-75 at C.W. Grant Parkway just north of I-285 near the exit to the international concourse of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, and was struck by a vehicle.

Six other vehicles subsequently collided in an apparent chain-reaction pile-up, police said, that blocked all lanes of the southbound highway past 8:30 a.m.

Despite the disruption to traffic, police consider the timing fortunate.

“Luckily, nobody was killed,” Rosa said. “And we got a little lucky because it was a holiday weekend, so traffic wasn’t bad.”

The five drivers charged with driving under the influence were immediately taken to the Clayton County Jail, she said.

It is unclear whether the accused drivers were coming from the same place.

Police traffic investigators and troopers from the Georgia State Patrol investigated the scene, and it was cleared by 9 a.m., authorities said.

The arrested were identified by the State Patrol and Clayton County Police as: William Scott Kirk II, 23 of McDonough, charged with DUI and following too close; Najm Martinez, 33, of East Point, charged with DUI and driving less safe; Joseph Daise, 23, of Jonesboro, charged with DUI; Tawan Hayes, 38, of Riverdale, following too close and DUI.

Another man, Joshua Noble, also was charged with DUI, said Sgt. Kevin Hughes, spokesman for the Clayton County Police Department. No additional information was immediately available on Noble.

Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.

Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.