Monday, May 12, 2014
DRUNK DRIVER SENTENCED TO MAXIMUM FOR HIT AND RUN DEATH OF 11-YEAR-OLD
State vs. Gatha Dyer
Atlanta– A convicted drunk driver has been sentenced to a maximum 15 years in prison in connection with the hit and run death of an 11-year-old child. Jurors returned guilty verdicts late Thursday night against 44-year-old Gatha Dyer on charges of Homicide by Vehicle, DUI and Reckless Driving for the crash that claimed the life of Patrick Williams, a student at McNair Middle School. Dyer was sentenced this morning by presiding Fulton County Superior Court Judge Henry Newkirk.
The incident happened on April 1, 2013 on Boulder Park Drive near the intersection of Brownlee Road in Southwest Atlanta. The victim was walking in the area with several other young children who had already crossed the street. As young Patrick attempted to cross, the Defendant came speeding through the area behind the wheel of 1997 Mitsubishi Eclipse and hit the child. The force of the impact sent the victim airborne 53 feet before crashing onto the windshield of the car and then landing on the ground. After hitting the child, Defendant Dyer slowed briefly and then sped away. The passenger in his car testified at trial that he urged the defendant to stop but he refused because he had ‘been drinking.’
A Good Samaritan who witnessed the crash followed the Defendant’s car long enough to capture his license plate and contact police. Dyer was tracked to his home in Clayton County and arrested. Defendant Dyer, who had three prior DUI convictions, was on probation for a 2010 DUI from Cobb County at the time of the hit and run.
The case was prosecuted by Chief Senior District Attorney Lance Cross with assistance from Senior ADA Ramona Toole and DA Investigator Terence Wise. Officer M. Sutton of the Atlanta Police Department’s Hit and Run Unit led the initial investigation.