Gwinnett County News Updates
The Aurora theater will be honoring Jon Richards at its annual Aurora Gala. Richards, a well-known local and state political activist, was a consistent supporter of the arts. Mr. Richards passed away last year after a battle with cancer. Richards dedicated not only his money to the Aurora theater, but his time, as he was also quietly helping to maintain the theater’s website. Anthony Rodriguez, the Aurora theater’s Producing Artistic Director called Richards a “hero” in a statement.
Governor Nathan Deal announced Jan. 22 that Gwinnett County Public Schools would receive a $20,000.00 grant for its “Getting Ready to Read” project. The project is aimed at helping children, from newborn to eight years old, in low-income areas learn to read and understand literature. The project will take place at multiple elementary schools and retail establishments in Gwinnett County.
The State senate has a new president pro tempore. Sen. David Shafer announced in early January his resignation from the post he’d held since 2013. He state that the resignation was because he is running for Georgia’s Lieutenant Governor. Butch Miller, a Republican from Gainesville, was elected as the senate’s new president pro tempore.
Public service deserves thanks. The Red, Blue, and You event at Coolray Field had well over 300 people attending. Police officers, firemen, and other similar professions were honored. Jessica Rantamaki was severely injured in a car wreck this year. She spoke her sincere thanks to the emergency personnel who treated her. There were statements from local officials and even a recorded message from Rob Woodall. These people do a hard, thankless job. This event showed everyone that it’s not as thankless as some believe.
A pooch in trouble landed its owner in hot water. A concerned citizen called 911 about a dog locked in a hot car, and the police discovered marijuana in the car after helping the poor pup. Soon after, the owner and her companion, a felon, came to the vehicle after shopping. Both were arrested and the police searched the vehicle further with probably cause. They discovered a firearm tucked away along with more marijuana and cocaine in the vehicle. The owner was released and cited for cruelty to animals, but their partner is charged with intent to distribute and possession of a firearm by a felon. Luckily, the young pup was fine afterwards.
47-year-old Orlando Hall from Dallas, Georgia died in Lawrenceville, Georgia after being pinned between the hydraulic arm of the hopper of a street sweeper in the parking lot of a Quick Trip at Pleasant Hill Road and Club Drive in Gwinnett County. Hall was the operator of the street sweeper, and Gwinnett County Fire believe that he was under the street sweeper to fix a mechanical issue. The street sweeper was still running when firefighters found Hall. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) have been investigating the incident.
A three-vehicle crash in Gwinnett County resulted in minor injuries and an oil leak on GA-316. A tractor-trailer carrying a load of dry ice collided with two other vehicles. Gwinnett County Police do not know the cause of the accident. Multiple lanes were blocked on GA-316 at Harbins Road while hazmat cleaned the area. One driver was taken to Gwinnett Medical Center. Investigations are ongoing.
Gwinnett County Police responded to a four-vehicle accident in Duluth, Georgia on Highway 316 near Boggs Road. Three people were injured and one child died. Since the investigation is ongoing none of the names of those involved have been released yet.
A high speed accident killed two teens and injured several others on Lawrenceville Highway near Tucker. Kiara Oliver, 37, was speeding in a 2000 Cheverolet Tahoe heading north in the center lane on Lawreceville Highway. Oliver prepared to make a left turn onto Kenvilla Drive and turned her vehicle in front of a 2016 Honda Accord driven by teenager Sani Velani. Velani had three teen passengers. The collision was so strong that it rotated the Honda Accord clockwise hitting it into a power pole before coming to a stop on the highway’s grass shoulder. The Tahoe rotated counter clockwise and stopped in lanes of travel. Two of the teens were trapped in the wreckage. Gwinnett Fire Captial Tommy Rutledge said that the firefighers had to use hydraulic rescue tools to free them. Velani died at the scene. Passengers Rutesh Kakadiya, 16, and Afaan Asit, 15, were taken to Gwinnett Medical Center. Passenger Taha Muhammed, 15, was taken with Oliver to Atlanta Medical Center. The highway was shut down for an extremely long time. Georgia Power and Georgia Department of Transportation were notified of the collision and damage.
Lawrenceville City Police arrived to horrific car wreck that killed one person (62-year-old Eva Wilkerson) and injured 18 on Georgia 316 at Buford Drive in Lawrenceville. The wreck involved 8 vehicles and shut down traffic for several hours. A tractor-trailer failed to stop when traffic came to a standstill on Hi Hope Road causing pileup. One vehicle went completely under the tractor-trailer and caught on fire. Gwinnett County Fire Department reported 8 children and 10 adults injured. Those with injuries were take to Gwinnett Medical Center and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Scottish Rite.
Hundreds of watermelons caused a major traffic delay for those traveling on I-985 North in Gwinnett County. It took crews two hours to clear the scene before I-985 could be reopened after the watermelon spill. The Georgia State Patrol said that their troopers had responded to a crash involving a Ford F-350 and a tractor-trailer. The Ford was hauling the watermelons in its truck bed. The Ford driver failed to maintain his lane and crossed the fog line to the left. He overcorrected which caused him to lose control of the truck, strike the tractor-trailer, and hit a concrete traffic barrier. At that time, his load of watermelons spilled onto the roadway. Both lanes of I-985 were clocked for about 2 hours. There were no injuries reported.
A Gwinnett County jury convicted Jhonatan Romero-Alvarez of felony hit and run and failing to stop at or return to the scene of an accident involving a death. The incident happened in Duluth in 2015 when Romero-Alvarez’s vehicle mirror hit pedestrian Dante Wilson who was trying to cross the intersection of Boggs Road and Magnolia Pointe Boulevard at about 9:45 PM. Wilson fell when Romero-Alvarez’s vehicle hit him. While injured and lying in the road, two other vehicles ran over him. The drivers of those vehicles stopped and assisted the police investigation. Wilson died at the scene. 24 hours after the accident, Romero-Alvarez called police and he was arrested at his home. Romero-Alvarez was sentenced to three years and eight months in federal prison then he will serve about two years and four months of probation for the crimes.
A White SUV crashed into a new Lawrenceville restaurant wedging itself upright into a brick wall just after striking an embankment. The restaurant named Parkside District has not opened to the public yet. The owners made light of the situation by posting a photo of it with the caption, “The anticipation is REAL, Lawrenceville! Our first guest couldn’t wait any longer for us to open and created a drive thru.” Gwinnett County Police reported that the anonymous driver was traveling too fast in heavy rain and lost control of the vehicle trying to make a right turn into the restaurant’s parking lot. No one was hurt. Parkside District’s opening has not been impacted by the crash and the restaurant will still open as planned in the summer. The driver received multiple citations, including driving too fast for conditions and failure to maintain lane.
In Gwinnett County, 30-year-old Natalie Nation and her 2-year-old son Cole were brutally assaulted at their home on Tybee Drive in Buford, Georgia. The mother and son were strangled by 32-year-old Brandon Williams. According to the Gwinnett County Police, immediately after the assault Williams admitted to his father that he choked Natalie and Cole in their room at the home. Williams’s father was outside during the incident working on his vehicle. Williams’s father owned the home that Natalie and her son rented. Natalie was Williams’s father’s girlfriend. Williams’s father contacted police and Williams was apprehended at a nearby gas station. Natalie and her son were rushed to Gwinnett Medical Center where they both died from their injuries. Williams is being held in the Gwinnett County Detention Center without bond on multiple charges. Among the charges are one count for felony murder and two counts for aggravated assault. Williams is not related to the victims and police do not know the motive behind the murders.
A vehicle drove into the wall of a Chick-Fil-A off of Peachtree Industrial Boulevard in Duluth, Georgia. It smashed so hard into the building that it broke a hole in the wall where patrons dine. An unidentified woman who was sitting where the accident happened was taken to Gwinnett Medical Center with minor injuries. No one else was seriously hurt. The Duluth Police Department responded to the scene. The driver was an unidentified elderly woman who was trying to move around another car in the parking lot of the restaurant. The woman hit the gas instead of the brake which launched her vehicle into the Chick-Fil-A. The restaurant remains open to patrons while it is being fixed.
A 19 year-old was shot to death in the 4600 block of Grove Lake Street in Loganville. Gwinnett County Police said the victim, Jacquorrius Madison, was shot during a fight with other teenagers. The shooting is believed to be drug-related. While the Gwinnett County Police have not released the three suspect’s names, two teens have been arrested. The third suspect is still being investigated. The neighborhood is reported as being quiet. Gwinnett County Police is still obtaining information for their investigation.