Gwinnett County

DUI driver hits two women in Gwinnett mall parking lot, then causes 6-car crash, police say

GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. — A Gwinnett County man is thankful he wasn’t killed when police said a drunk and high driver ran into shoppers at the Mall of Georgia before crashing into six other people.

Channel 2′s Gwinnett County Bureau Chief Matt Johnson was in Buford, where there were two crime scenes after the incident unfolded Sunday night near the Exchange shopping center.

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Police said 26-year-old Lawain Howell was speeding through the Mall of Georgia parking lot when he plowed into two women. He went on to hit several cars waiting at a nearby stoplight.

Howell then tried to run from the scene. Arrest warrants show he admitted to not only driving drunk but also being under the influence of marijuana and prescription drugs.


Aidan Harvel was in his red pickup truck with his fiance Sunday night when he saw Howell cause the six-car chain-reaction crash. It left his truck with damage both on the front and the back.

“No one could really react to it,” Harvel said. “There was another car that somehow got it, that spun out and then that hit me, and this his car came back and hit me.”

Harvel said he’s thankful he and his fiance escaped without any injuries. He’s also hoping the accused driver learns from what happened.

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“If you end up hurting somebody, or even worse, killing somebody, that you live with that for the rest of your life,” Harvel said.

The women who were hit, who have not been identified, sustained minor injuries.

Howell remains in jail.

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