Cumming, GA

Cumming man charged in fatal crash that shut down GA 400 for hours

John Thompson

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(Photo/Forsyth County Sheriff's Office)

(Forsyth County, GA) Investigators at the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office continue to investigate a multi-vehicle crash involving a tractor-trailer that killed one driver on Friday, September 16.

According to the incident report, at approximately 8:30 p.m., the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office and Fire Department responded to GA Highway 400 and State Road 369 involving a multi-vehicle collision with a tractor-trailer.

A Nissan Rogue, Jeep Cherokee, Honda Civic, and Cadillac CTS were in the left northbound lane of GA 400, either stopped or in the process of stopping for traffic.

Officials said a loaded Freightliner tractor-trailer, operated by 61-year-old Charles Wilkins of Cumming, was traveling in the left northbound lane of GA 400 and approached the stopped traffic at an unreasonable speed for traffic conditions and the construction zone.

The tractor-trailer failed to stop and struck the rear of the Nissan at highway speeds, causing a chain reaction crash. The Nissan and the Freightliner crossed over the center median into the southbound lanes.

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(Photo/Forsyth County Sheriff's Office)

At the same time, a Kia Sorento was in the right southbound lane of GA 400 and proceeded through the intersection after receiving a green traffic signal.

The Freightliner struck the Kia at the driver’s side front door. The driver of the Kia, 65-year-old James Wright of Cumming, was pronounced dead at the scene. All other drivers and passengers, including Wilkins, were transported to local hospitals with non-life-threatening injuries.

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(Photo/Forsyth County Sheriff's Office)

Officials said multiple other vehicles were damaged by flying debris, but no additional injuries were reported. The roadway was closed in both directions for over five hours due to the investigation and extensive clean-up.

Upon discharge from the emergency room, Wilkins was taken into custody and transported to the Forsyth County Jail, charged with Homicide by Vehicle First Degree, Reckless Driving, Too Fast for Conditions, and Following Too Close. He is being held without bond and could face additional charges as the investigation continues.

If you have a news tip in Forsyth County, contact John Thompson at johntct@aol.com

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