Local News

November 18, 2010

Hit-and-run claims two local men

A woman charged with two counts of vehicular homicide in the hit-and-run deaths of a Chatsworth man and a former Dalton resident in south Georgia on Sunday told investigators she thought she hit a deer or a dog, an official said.

Andrew Wayne Galbraith, 23, of Chatsworth, and Joshua C. Williams, 26, who lived in Dalton before moving to Alma, died Sunday after being hit by a 2005 Nissan Altima driven by Stephanie Jeanet Cothern, 28, of Ambrose, said Brandon Sellers, chief of the Alma Police Department. Cothern and passenger David Vernon Bell Jr., 23, of Screven, are both charged with two counts of vehicular homicide. They were denied bond on Tuesday and remained in jail on Wednesday. The case may not be heard by the grand jury until January, Sellers said.

Alma is 70 miles east of Tifton.

Sellers said the two men were walking on U.S. 1 North near the main part of town around 11 p.m. when they were hit. He said Cothern left the scene before officers arrived. The police department and the Georgia State Patrol’s Specialized Collision Reconstruction Team (SCRT) investigated. Sellers said police knew the type of vehicle involved because of “physical evidence left at the scene.”

Early Monday morning, police found the car in neighboring Coffee County and determined the driver of the car and also the passenger “through numerous interviews,” he said. There is no evidence drugs or alcohol were involved, he said.

“Of course by the time we were able to put our hands on the driver any kind of alcohol would have been obsolete,” Sellers said.

Sellers said Cothern and Bell told police they did not see the two men walking. They did not stop after the incident because they believed they hit a deer or a dog.

“A reasonable person would have been able to stop to further observe the damage to the vehicle if nothing else,” Sellers said. “There was extensive damage to the vehicle.”

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