Suspect in hit-and-run death of UGA student surrenders


Donterris Jovan Gresham

By Joe Johnson

The alleged hit-and-run driver who killed a University of Georgia student in downtown Athens last weekend has surrendered himself at the Athens-Clarke County Jail.

According to the jail’s website, 29-year-old Donterris Jovan Gresham of Big Oak Circle was booked in at 5:53 p.m. Wednesday on charges of 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.

Athens-Clarke County police said that Gresham was the driver of the Honda Accord that struck and killed 20-year-old UGA junior Ariana Zarse at about 12:12 a.m. Saturday as Zarse and a friend crossed East Broad Street near Foundry Street.

According to a police report, Zarse and her friend were on the 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."

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

The Honda was later found abandoned on Berlin Street, and police subsequently identified Gresham as the person who was driving it at the time of the fatal collision.

Police publicly released the suspect’s name and a booking photo from a previous arrest on Monday.

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.

According to the jail website, Gresham was being held in lieu of bonds totaling $25,000, except for the hit-and-run charge, for which no bond was set.

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

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