Hit-and-run driver who killed UGA student identified, sought for vehicular homicide


Donterris Gresham

By Joe Johnson

Athens-Clarke County police announced Monday afternoon that they had identified the hit-and-run driver who killed a University of Georgia student in downtown Athens two days ago.

Police said an investigation determined that 29-year-old Donterris Gresham of Athens was the driver of the Honda Accord that struck and killed 20-year-old UGA junior Araiana Zarse at about 12:12 a.m. Saturday as Zarse and a friend crossed East Broad Street near Foundry Street.

Police were able to publicly release Gresham's photo because he has been booked into the county jail numerous times, with Superior Court and State Court cases dating to 2009, with a family violence case from last year that is currently pending, court records show.

According to a police report, Zarse and her friend were on railroad tracks that are located on East Broad and the tracks “were touching and parallel to an officially marked crosswalk. Yield signs warning of the railroad crossing were also present."

Gresham, who was not in custody, is charged in warrants charging him with first-degree homicide by vehicle, hit and run Involving serious injury or death, failure to obey a traffic control device, driving too fast for conditions, and driving while unlicensed.

The Honda fled the scene, police said, and Zarse was transported by ambulance to the hospital, where she died, police said.

Ariana Zarse

Zarse, a native of Austin, TX, was director of social events for the Pi Beta Phi Fraternity for Women and a member of UGA’s class of 2023, according to her LinkedIn page. She was studying marketing and public relations.

The Honda was later found abandoned on Berlin Street, where its registered owner did not live.

Police asked for anyone with information regarding Gresham’s whereabouts call 911.

The investigation was still ongoing and anyone with information the incident is asked to contact Officer First Class Tilley at (762) 400-7355 or dustin.tilley@accgov.com.

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