• Officer: Suspect thought string of wrecks was like being in video game

    By: Kerry Kavanaugh


    LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. - A Gwinnett County police officer testified the man accused of killing a woman during a string of 15 hit-and-run accidents likely rammed the vehicles on purpose.

    Channel 2's Kerry Kavanaugh was at the Gwinnett County Jail Friday as investigators testified about the disturbing way they said the 70-year-old suspect described his time behind the wheel.

    Michael Snider's has been in the jail since a massive accident investigation began last week.

    The lead investigator on the case testified Friday that when officers encountered Snider, he told them it was like he was in a video game.

    Snider walked into the courtroom with bandages on his arms. Police said he was scratched up from 15 hit-and-run crashes spanning two counties and 18 miles.

    "The initial investigation shows that he was intentionally ramming vehicles," said Officer Wilber Rundles of the Gwinnett County Police Department.

    Rundles said multiple drivers were hit more than once.

    Channel 2 Action News spoke to one of those drivers moments after the crashes unfolded on Jan. 23.

    "He intentionally tried to hit me. He chased me down the road," driver Dennis Brown said that night.

    In the final wreck, police said Snider pinned a sedan under a tractor-trailer, killing Mintiwab Woldeyhans, 73, of Loganville.

    The officer testified her daughter, Yeshihareg Abebe, 51, has a broken clavicle and is suffering from bleeding in the brain.

    Snider ultimately crashed his pickup into a restaurant. That's when the first police officers encountered him.

    "He said that he felt like he was playing a video game, that we needed to check out the video game he was playing," Rundles said.

    Snider's defense attorney implied that could be a sign of mental instability.

    "We kept hearing things about an overwhelming odor of alcohol, and yet when there was some question of his stability. That hasn't been investigated at all," defense attorney Christine Coehler said.

    Coehler wouldn't comment further on the case, saying there's too much information she doesn't have.

    "I watched you on TV going page-by-page through the police report, which is great; you're doing your job; that's wonderful. I've requested those same police reports. They've not been made available to me," Coehler said.

    There were several members of Snider's family at the hearing. They had no comment.


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