Arrest made in fatal hit-and-run of deaf bicyclist

Updated:

A bicyclist was hit and killed on South Marietta Parkway Wednesday morning.
MARIETTA, Ga. —

Marietta police said they have arrested the suspected driver in a hit-and-run that killed a deaf bicyclist on his way to work Wednesday morning.

Police said Joseph Gathambyri, 25, was riding his bike on South Marietta Parkway near Aviation Road just before 5 a.m. when he was hit from behind by a pickup truck.

The truck did not stop, but after searching for witnesses all morning, police received a tip that led them to the truck that was believed to have been involved in the crash.

Police said they found and arrested the driver of the truck, Damon Lautch, 27.

Lautch was taken to the Cobb County Adult Detention Center on charges of hit and run, DUI and first-degree vehicular homicide.

Coworkers at a nearby Burger King told Channel 2's Rachel Stockman that Gathambyri, known to friends as "Deaf Joe," was on his way to work.

"He's usually here before we get here, and when we got here, he wasn't here," Moore said. "I went down the street and it happened to be Deaf Joe," co-worker Linda Moore said.

Moore and other co-workers remembered Joe as an aspiring rapper who rapped in sign language.

"He couldn't talk to you, but he did do sign language or he would write down notes," Moore said.

"He was always a helping person, always willing to give a helping hand," she said. "Anytime you needed Deaf Joe, if we were short-handed, he was always there."

Moore said Gathambryi was "a very special person to me. I'm just going to try to get through this day without him."