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Hit and Run Kills Respected Local Man

Thumbnail image for bicycles on georgia roadThe spring cycling season is barely in full swing and the Atlanta area has suffered yet another loss of life. The third in only a couple of weeks. A Marietta man, known by locals as “deaf Joe” and held with great affection by Burger King patrons and co-workers, has been struck and killed while riding his bike near the Cobb County Transit bus terminal. He served as a cook at the restaurant that is now mourning his loss. My heart goes out to all who knew him and to his family. The police have now arrested a suspect in this tragedy.

In my law practice as a Cobb County bicycle accident lawyer, I know from many years of experience supporting victims and families, that these losses are difficult to bear. The loss of “Deaf Joe” is felt by many in the community.

The driver of the vehicle that struck him down hit him and ran. Hit and run accidents appear to be on the rise, but they are no less confusing for law-abiding citizens who cannot imagine leaving the scene of an accident they have caused.

One of his co-workers said yesterday that he usually was at work early in the morning and dedicated to his job. He also was an aspiring rapper who rapped in sign language. What a great person and great loss to our community. Although he did not speak, he rapped in sign language and wrote notes. He was said by his co-workers to be a person willing to pitch in when anyone needed him.

Sadly, this is the second fatal bicycle hit-and-run accident in only two weeks. Another Marietta man was killed while riding late last month. Witnesses reported that the man was struck by perhaps a black SUV that could have been a Cadillac Escalade.

Only yesterday, the Marietta police asked the public for information to help solve the most recent hit and run accident. Both evidence at the scene and a tip are reportedly the information needed to enable the police to identify the vehicle that was involved and to arrest the suspect.

He has been charged with several violations of Georgia law, including hit and run, DUI and first degree vehicular homicide. Under Official Code of Georgia Annotated section 40-6-393 (b), “[a]ny driver of a motor vehicle who, without malice aforethought, causes an accident which causes the death of another person and leaves the scene of the accident in violation of subsection (b) of Code Section 40-6-270 commits the offense of homicide by vehicle in the first degree and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than three years nor more than 15 years.”

As was perhaps the case here, many hit and run accidents are solved with witness information. Sometimes, the witness is not a witness to the accident, but sees the damage to the vehicle that wasn’t present before. This might even be a family member. When motorists have new damage to their vehicle that fits with the hit and run, often they try to get repairs done at body shops without notifying their insurance carriers. Body shops should remain aware of such accidents and contact authorities if there is anything suspicious about the damage to the vehicle or if the person who owns the vehicle wants to pay cash for the repairs.

The spokesperson for the Marietta police was quoted yesterday as saying: ” ‘It’s hard for me to understand how somebody could run someone down and not stop, but that’s what we have here.’ ” I agree with this sentiment and hope more citizens will understand that leaving the scene is not acceptable morally and is a violation of the law.

If you or a loved one has been harmed or fatally injured in a cycle crash, please contact me for a free consultation about your accident. I represent bicyclists and their families in my law practice, the Law Offices of P. Charles Scholle, P.C.