Local News

December 21, 2011

Woman charged with vehicular homicide

DALTON — A Dalton woman was charged with vehicular homicide this week after a Whitfield County grand jury reviewed the early September wreck that took the life of her passenger, a court officer said.

Alicia Marie Chandler, 28, of 158 Browning Way, was charged by the Whitfield County Sheriff’s Office with DUI, two counts of felony first degree homicide by vehicle and reckless driving on an indictment warrant. Chandler was at the wheel when a passenger, Elizabeth Burchfield, 26, of Dalton, was thrown from the front passenger seat of the car on Chattanooga Avenue, according to a Dalton Police Department release.

District Attorney Kermit McManus said the women and two males in the back seat had been drinking at a Hamilton Street bar earlier in the evening. The DPD release said the accident occurred around 1:30 a.m. on Sept. 1.

“The indictment from the grand jury charged her with homicide by vehicle in the first degree predicated on driving under the influence and also reckless driving,” said McManus. “There’s two counts of homicide by vehicle, one predicated on DUI and the other one on reckless driving, and there’s a separate charge for both DUI and reckless driving. So there’s four counts in the indictment ... there’s two different ways vehicular homicide is alleged, by DUI and reckless driving.”

He explained the wreck happened in front of the Crown Mill on the “S-curve.”

“The information is that she was driving through that S-curve — probably going too fast, and of course, she was under the influence — and she hit a curbing along there where Judson Street comes into Chattanooga Avenue,” McManus said. “It knocked (the car) back toward the other side, she overcorrected and swerved a couple of times and Ms. Burchfield was ejected from the passenger seat.”

He added his office staff met with some of Burchfield’s family members last week prior to taking the case to the grand jury.

Burchfield was taken by ambulance to Hamilton Medical Center where she was pronounced dead, according to the release. No other injuries were reported.

Chandler bonded out of the Whitfield County jail on Monday on a pre-set $5,000 bond, a spokeswoman said. Burchfield left behind a son and daughter, according to her obituary.

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