Local News

July 17, 2013

Judge denies bond for man accused of vehicular homicide

A man charged with vehicular homicide for the July 8 death of Dalton resident David Rittenhouse had a blood alcohol content of nearly three times the legal limit when the crash occurred, officials said.

Whitfield County Superior Court Judge Jack Partain on Tuesday denied bond for Shawn Michael Holland, who also faces charges for traffic violations and DUI after investigators said he ran a red light at the intersection of Cleveland Highway and Beaverdale Road and hit an SUV, killing Rittenhouse. Holland, a Varnell resident, is 24. Rittenhouse was 60.

District Attorney Bert Poston said the state opposed bond for Holland, telling Partain he had been due in court the day of the crash for a hearing on a temporary protective order his wife had filed for alleging he had a pattern of alcohol abuse and domestic violence he committed while drunk.

“We have obtained his medical records, and a blood alcohol test conducted by Hamilton Medical Center at 3:20 a.m., almost two hours after the wreck, showed a (blood alcohol content) of 0.22, which means at the time of the wreck he was approximately three times the legal limit,” Poston said. The legal limit in Georgia is 0.08.

Public Defender Mike McCarthy, whose office is representing Holland, didn’t immediately return messages on Tuesday.

Holland was to have a bond hearing a few days earlier, but when he went before Judge Cindy Morris through a video conference program that allows judges and jail inmates to view one another, he said he didn’t have an attorney and was confused about the process for obtaining one. Holland spoke quietly to Morris and dropped his head at times.

“I’ve never had any charges before,” he told her. “I don’t know how it works or anything.”


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