September 6, 2013

Man charged with vehicular homicide in SUV wreck

Rachel Brown

— A Chatsworth man has been charged with vehicular homicide after investigators said they learned he left the scene after an SUV he was driving overturned and killed his passenger.

Wayne Chad Henry, 24, of 1631 Hyden Tyler Road, was charged Thursday by the Georgia State Patrol with leaving the scene of an accident and felony first degree vehicular homicide. The charges stem from the death of Irvin Junior Cochran, 52, of Chatsworth, who was killed when the SUV officials said Henry was driving overturned the evening of Aug. 29, partially ejecting Cochran and pinning him underneath.

Sgt. Tommy Sturdivan said authorities charged Henry after conducting more interviews this week. Cochran and Henry were driving through a field at a private residence off of Hyden Tyler Road. Exactly what they were doing there is unclear, but Sturdivan said they were apparently on their way back to the road.

After the wreck, a Georgia State Patrol spokesman said the driver and another passenger told officers Cochran reached over the driver, sharply turned the steering wheel and stepped on the accelerator, causing the crash.

Sturdivan, who is with the state patrol’s Specialized Collision Reconstruction Team that investigates wrecks in detail, said officials now believe Henry — not another individual they first talked to — was the driver, and that Henry and Cochran were the only ones in the vehicle when it crashed. Sturdivan declined to go into detail about how the crash occurred, saying he didn’t want to jeopardize the ongoing investigation.

When a driver unintentionally kills someone with a vehicle, the charge is often misdemeanor vehicular homicide, but Sturdivan said Henry’s charge was upgraded to a felony because he also left the scene.

Henry remained in the Murray County jail without bond on Friday.