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UGA student was driving home from drinking in downtown Athens when his car struck and killed a pedestrian

By Joe Johnson

A University of Georgia student was driving home from drinking in downtown Athens early Tuesday morning when his car struck and killed a pedestrian., according to an Athens-Clarke County Police Department accident report.

Benhur Tesfai, 21, had three other UGA students in his 2009 Honda Accord when it crashed into 34-year-old Michael Kitchen on West Broad Street in front of Beech Haven Church at about 3:40 a.m., according to the report.

An officer who was nearby and heard the sound of the collision responded to the scene and found Kitchen lying unresponsive in the roadway, but the vehicle that struck him had driven off. The victim died after being transported to the hospital.

Benhur Tesfai

After arriving home to The Connection apartment complex off Ultimate Drive, the report states, Tesfai called 911 to report that he’d been in an accident.

He reportedly told police that he knew that he had struck something, but did not know what, and he drove away from the scene because he panicked.

The report notes that the windshield of the student’s car had been shattered, with pieces of glass scattered around the interior, and some hair stuck in the car frame.

Tesfai had on his breath a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage, according to the police report, and he admitted to having drunk two lemon drop shots at Cloud Athens, a nightclub on East Clayton Street.

After falling roadside sobriety tests, Tesfai was arrested for DUI, first-degree homicide by vehicle, and leaving the scene of an accident with serious injury.

A judge at a Wednesday hearing denied granting bail to the student, who on Friday remained in pretrial detention at the Clarke County Jail.


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His bad decisions will cost him dearly. He's fixing to get "educated", but not in the way that would help him thrive in this world. My condolences to the victims family and friends.

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It sounds as though he was on a roll of bad decisions that night. Would’ve, should’ve, could’ve.

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