Family of woman killed in crash angry arrest of wrong-way driver took 8 days

Family of woman killed in crash angry arrest of wrong-way driver took 8 days
Forsyth Co. Sheriff apologizing over Facebook photo showing fatal crash moments after it happened

HALL COUNTY, Ga. — The family of a Hall County woman killed in a head-on collision in Forsyth County wants answers about what led up to her death, and an apology about what happened in the moments after it.

B.J. Tucker told Channel 2’s Mike Petchenik his wife, Kandi, was driving their eldest daughter to a doctor’s appointment Jan. 23rd on Keith Bridge Road when it happened. Tucker said he was on the phone with his wife.

“When I was talking to her she said ‘Oh my God, there’s a car coming at me in my lane,’” he said.

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Seconds later, Tucker said he heard a crash, and he immediately headed to the location on State Route 306 at Leland Drive.

“I got on the scene right as she passed,” he said.

Tucker said his wife’s death has been hard on him and his five children.

“She just brought joy to a room,” he said. “I don’t think she was disliked by anybody. Just a great person.”

Eight days after the wreck, Forsyth County deputies officially charged the other driver, Mitchell Brown, 29, with a number of offenses, including homicide by vehicle and driving on the wrong side of the road.

Tucker’s attorney questions why it took so long.

“I understand he did go to the hospital and was released, but we did question why it took so long to bring charges,” said Barbara Cole.

“In the past I’ve seen them arrest somebody immediately.”

In a statement, Forsyth County sheriff’s spokeswoman Stacie Miller told Petchenik the Sheriff’s Office Traffic Unit conducted an “exhaustive investigation” that included seeking five different search warrants.

“The Traffic Specialist Unit Investigators have submitted samples of the at-fault driver’s blood to the GBI Crime Lab and are awaiting the result,” Miller said. “Depending on the results of those tests, which often take 90 or more days to receive back from GBI, the FCSO will take any appropriate legal action.”

Miller said even though Brown posted his initial bond, the Sheriff’s Office took him back into custody for violating his probation and he remains in the Forsyth County Jail.

Cole said she wants to know where Brown was in the minutes and hours before the 2 p.m. crash.

“Ms. Tucker’s driving, dry day, and all of a sudden she’s killed from a driver who was out of control with his vehicle and apparently out of control with his life,” said Cole.

Adding insult to injury, Cole said in the minutes after the wreck, someone from the Sheriff’s Office posted a picture of Tucker’s mangled vehicle on Facebook while her body was still inside.

Tucker said he began receiving phone calls from family members who learned about Tucker’s death from the post.

The Sheriff’s Office is apologizing for what happened:

“The Sheriff’s Office strives to post current road and accident conditions, generally with a header or photograph taken at a distance, to allow others to identify the area but to avoid the identity of a particular vehicle type. In this case, a photo that was taken too close to the scene was erroneously posted and then taken down as soon as the error was discovered. The photo did allow a general identity of the vehicle to be seen, but certainly not anything else. Our Social Media expectations are better than that and we will strive to ensure that this does not occur again. We will examine our Social Media policy and playbook and will make sure there are checks and balances in place that can help prevent this oversight. Sheriff Freeman expects excellence in everything we do. Excellence is not perfection, as no one is perfect, but excellence is achievable and is every employee’s goal.”