Athens man charged with vehicular homicide


Johnny Todd Carruthers

By Joe Johnson

An Athens man was charged with vehicular homicide after a weekend wreck in which a passenger was struck and killed by another car, Athens-Clarke County police said.

According to a police accident report, 29-year-old Johnny Todd Carruthers lost control of his car at about 2:50 a.m. Saturday when making a turn from U.S. Highway 29 North onto an Athens Perimeter entrance ramp.

The car struck a curb and rotated across to the other side of the ramp where it crashed into an embankment.

After the car came to a rest, police said Carruthers’ passenger, 37-year-old Johnrico Deon Smith of Westchester Drive, exited the car, walked into the roadway and laid down near the center of a lane of travel.

A car driven by a 30-year-old Athens woman ran over Smith as it turned onto the entrance ramp from Highway 29, and it did not come to a stop until traveling another 190 feet, police said.

Smith was pronounced dead at the scene, according to the accident report.

Police indicated that a can of beer was found near the driver’s door and an accident reconstruction determined that Carruthers’ car was traveling at between 73 and 76 mph when it wrecked.

Evidence indicated that neither of the car’s occupants were wearing a seat belt.

Carruthers was charged with first-degree homicide by vehicle, DUI, speeding, possession of an open container of alcohol in a vehicle, and failure to maintain lane.

He was being held without bail Tuesday at the Clarke County Jail.

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