By Joe Johnson
An Athens man was recently charged in an 18-count indictment, six months after he reportedly crashed a van carrying five young children while he allegedly was intoxicated.
According to Athens-Clarke County police, the incident occurred shortly before 7 p.m. April 14 when a Dodge Caravan operated by 30-year-old Everett Maurice Hackney of Huntington Road left the roadway and flipped when trying to exit from the Athens Perimeter to Atlanta Highway.
“The vehicle rolled and eventually caught fire,” according to Officer Lt. Shaun ACCPD Public Information Barnett, who said a witness saw five children exiting the burning van.
Hackney was arrested for DUI, possession of open containers of alcohol in a vehicle, driving too fast for conditions, driving on a suspended or revoked license, and multiple counts of failure to use child restraints and endangering a child under 14 by driving under the influence.
Barnett said he did not know how or if Hackney was related to the children, who were aged 2 through 8. He said the child endangerment charges are a form of child abuse, reports of which are prohibited by law from being made public.
Hackney was subsequently released from the county jail on a $25,000 bond.
Last Tuesday, Dec. 7, his case was presented to a Clarke County Superior Court grand jury, which returned an indictment charging Hackney with four counts of causing serious injury by vehicle, being a habitual violator, two counts of DUI, possession of an open container of alcohol in a vehicle, reckless driving, five counts of endangering a child while DUI, and four counts of failure to use a child safety restraint.
The indictment noted that the children suffered injuries that included a concussion, lacerations, and a bruised lung.
Hackney is scheduled to be arraigned on Jan. 5.