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Posted: 8:28 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 16, 2012
By Aaron Diamant
Channel 2 Action News is learning more about the man killed in a wrong-way crash on Georgia 400 early Wednesday morning. Friends and family are shocked that Eric Hanks is gone. Hanks died just a couple miles from his Buckhead apartment. Family members said Hanks was on his way home from dropping off his cousin when police said Frampere Ingle, of Marietta, blew past several warning signs and onto the freeway going the wrong direction. Minutes before the horrific head-on wreck, drivers lit up 911 lines. Channel 2's Aaron Diamant obtained the recordings Thursday afternoon. "I just led a wrong way driver going South in the northbound lanes," one driver told an operator. "He had his lights pointed towards me and went past me," reported a second driver. Atlanta police now confirm Ingle turned onto Georgia 400 from the Lenox Road off-ramp way, causing the head on crash less than a mile away. Ingle later died at Grady Hospital, where her female passenger remains in critical condition. Eric Hanks, the driver of the other car, died at the scene. "I'm just flabbergasted," said Hanks' neighbor, Duane West. "I'm lost for words. I just spoke to him two days ago." On Thursday, West told Diamant that Hanks was a generous entrepreneur, who worked hard to ramp up his popular mobile barbecue business. "He was really getting off the ground," West said. "He was so excited about establishing himself in the community and a lot of people loved him." Police said investigators are still reconstructing the crash. "I don't know if he saw them at the last minute, where that person could not get over or get out of the way," Atlanta Police Spokeswoman Kim Jones said. "Maybe they both swerved at the same time." "He didn't deserve that," Hanks' fiancée Gladys Ferguson told Diamant Thursday. Ferguson agreed to speak with Channel 2 Action News while still grieving over her sudden loss. "We're doing what we can," Ferguson said. "Everything is very tough. It's tough to lose somebody in any event. I want that to be known around the community that he was a good guy." In addition to his barbecue business, Ferguson said Hanks was writing a book about his big comeback after falling on hard times. "He was getting to where he knew what he wanted in life," Ferguson said. She remembered Hanks for his generosity and how proud he was of his family's connection to civil rights icon Rosa Parks -- his great aunt. "He obviously drew inspiration from her," Ferguson said. "He felt like she was a very strong woman." And as police still work to figure out why Ingle got on the freeway the wrong direction, Ferguson said she's devastated police think alcohol may have played a part. "That makes it even worse, because that certainly could have been avoided," Ferguson said.
A Channel 2 Action News investigation finds thousands of local votes in the last presidential election didn’t count, though many should have.
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