A Forrest Park, Ga., man faces two counts of vehicle homicide in the deaths of two men after his car went out of control Feb. 14 on Interstate 185 near J.R. Allen Parkway, Columbus police said.
Darion Mitchell, 30, is charged in the deaths of Lee Edward Heath of Phenix City and Anthony Jensen of Columbus in the 5:08 a.m. crash while the pedestrians were putting gas in a pickup truck. Mitchell was picked up on outstanding warrants Tuesday and held in the Muscogee County Jail for a 9 a.m. Thursday hearing in Recorder’s Court.
The crash occurred in the northbound lane of I-185 Collector Road at the J.R. Allen westbound exit ramp. Heath, 47, and Jensen, 32, were pronounced dead at the scene.
Columbus police said a 2011 Toyota Tundra owned by Heath was parked on the east side of I-185 northbound collector road facing north while Heath and Jensen stood on the side of the pickup. A northbound 2017 Nissan Sentra driven by Mitchell struck the pickup’s rear bumper and both pedestrians.
After striking the men, the Nissan continued in a northeast direction across the J.R. Allen Parkway’s westbound exit ramp while spinning, police said.
A witness to the crash said he was traveling northbound on I-185 when he observed the stopped pickup with its lights on. He said the Nissan struck the driver’s side rear bumper on the pickup with its front bumper.
A second witness, traveling on the J.R. Allen westbound exit ramp to the northbound I-185 collector road, said he saw the pickup with hazards lights flashing. As he drove near the pickup, the witness said the Nissan headlights were doing an unusual movement before the car came across his lane and stopped on the east side of J.R. Allen Parkway’s westbound exit ramp.
Charges are filed one month after the deadly crash. Mitchell also faces a series of traffic offenses, including one count each of giving false statements, giving false name and information to police, fraudulent use of license or ID card, obstruction of an officer in criminal investigation, driving while license suspended or revoked, distracted driver, pedestrian driver due care and colliding with stationery objects.