Today marked the trial date for Carmon Cody Rhoden, 22, who was charged with killing four in a Gwinnett County drunk driving car accident in March 2008.
The wreck, called the deadliest accident on Northeast Georgia’s I-85 in more than 15 years, happened just after Rhoden attended an Atlanta Braves game, where police say he was seen drinking several beers. Witnesses estimated his car was swerving down I-85 at more than 110 miles per hour. At that speed, he clipped an SUV limo, causing a multi-car pileup. But instead of pulling over and accounting for his actions, Rhoden continued on to the next highway exit, parked his wrecked car and called his father to take him home.
Meanwhile the limo, which had been taking a family home from the airport, took the brunt of the force. Four of its seven occupants, including its driver, were killed: Alex Randle, 14; Whitney Randle, 21; Whitney’s infant son Kayden; and limo driver Mark Anthony Gay, 44; all of Lawrenceville.
The other three were injured: Whitney’s fiance and Kayden’s father, Latavius Finley, who was also Kayden’s father; Whitney and Alexander’s mother, Falleen Randle; and their father, Demetrius Randle. The latter suffered a catastrophic brain injury, which has severely impaired his ability to walk and talk. He still undergoes speech, physical and occupational therapy weekly.
To everyone’s surprise, Rhoden–who had previously, despite all evidence against him, denied causing the wreck–pleaded guilty to four counts of vehicular homicide, plus one count serious injury by vehicle and one count of leaving the scene of the accident. As a result, the trial was swift, and Rhoden was sentenced to 40 years in prison plus 30 years on probation.
On the stand, Rhoden apologized to the Randle family, and that gesture may have helped his conscience a little. However, it brought the survivors little comfort. Their family was wrongfully killed by a drunk driver, right in front of them, and that is one scar that will never heal.
If a loved one of yours–or, heaven forbid, more than one–has been injured or wrongfully killed in a Gwinnett County auto accident, whether or not it was caused by a Georgia drunk driver, you have certain rights that need to be honored. At the Law Offices of P. Charles Scholle, our compassionate legal professionals can help you get through the tough times and get you the compensation you need to deal with hospital bills, time lost from work, funeral costs and much more. Please contact our law offices in the Perimeter, Buckhead, Duluth or Decatur, and learn how we can help you.