Additional charges filed against truck driver in fatal crash that shut down GA 400 in Forsyth County

John Thompson

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(Photo/Forsyth County Sheriff's Office)

(Forsyth County, GA) The truck driver already charged with the death of another driver killed during a multi-vehicle crash on Friday, September 16 on GA 400 faces new charges today.

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Charles Wilkins.(Photo/Forsyth County Sheriff's Office)

On Monday, September 19, the Traffic Specialist Unit executed a search warrant on the Freightliner tractor-trailer involved in the crash. As a result of the search, additional warrants were obtained and executed. The additional charges against Charles Wilkins, 61, of Cumming, include Possession of Methamphetamine, Possession of Drug Related Objects, and Open Container of Alcohol.

According to the police report, the incident occurred at approximately 8:30 p.m. on September 16. 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.

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(Photo/Forsyth County Sheriff's Office)

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 Wilkins, 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.

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.

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(Photo/Forsyth County Sheriff's Office)

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.

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.

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

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I've been writing articles around the metropolitan region for 30 years. My work has appeared in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the NY Post, and other regional newspapers.

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