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Reward amount doubled in search for hit-and-run driver who killed UGA PhD student

Cesar Raudales Macias.

By Joe Johnson

The Barrow County Sheriff's Office has announced a doubling of the reward to $10,000 is being offered in the search for the hit-and-run driver responsible fo the death of a 23-year-old University of Georgia PhD student one year ago.

Beth Elaine Buchanan was driving her mother to the airport on Feb. 13, 2023 after having enjoyed being visited at her home in Athens by Julie Buchanan.

However, when her car was nearing Winder on Georgia Highway 316 it was struck head-on by a vehicle being driven in the wrong direction by Cesar Raudales Macias.

Beth Elaine Buchanan

Beth died from her injuries and Julie managed to survive her critical trauma. The elder Buchanan had taken off from her job as a dean at Fresno State University in Beth's home state of California to spend time with her daughter.

Macias also survived the crash and after his blood was found to have had a blood-alcohol content of .24 percent the Barrow County Sheriff's Office was set to charge him with first-degree homicide by vehicle. The suspect reportedly has a history of DUI arrests.

However, when deputies went to take Macias into custody, the 27-year-old Athens man had already fled from the hospital.

He reportedly was last seen at his home of his parents in Athens.

In November it was revealed by authorities that the U.S. Marshals Service had become involved in the hunt for Macias, and the Barrow Sheriff this month announced that the initial $5,000 reward being offered in the case had been doubled to $10,000.

Anonymous tips can be made at the Crime Stoppers tip line at 404-577-8477 or online at

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