Driver Arrested in Connection with 4-Car Wreck on Georgia Interstate

April 3, 2008

Police arrested a man they believe caused a four-car accident in Georgia that killed two children and two adults and injured four others.

Cody Rhoden, 20, turned himself in to authorities Tuesday just before midnight, a little more than 24 hours after the Monday night accident on Interstate 85 near Norcross, about 20 miles northeast of Atlanta, police said.

Officer David Schiralli, a Gwinnett County Police spokesman, said Rhoden is charged with four counts of vehicular homicide, one count of reckless driving, one count of serious injury by motor vehicle, one count of felony hit and run and three counts of misdemeanor hit and run.

Police say Rhoden was traveling at high speeds and weaving through traffic, which caused a sports utility vehicle carrying six members of a family to swerve, strike the center median and overturn. The wreck sparked a chain reaction that ensnared three other vehicles.

Rhoden’s attorney, Jeffrey Sliz, said his client wasn’t to blame for the crash.

“My client was driving, and he was hit in the side of his vehicle,” Sliz told WXIA-TV in Atlanta. “He spun out of control, and basically was unaware that such a collision had occurred, and what happened after it. … We don’t think the blame should be laid at our feet.”

The Randle family, of Lawrenceville, had rented an SUV limousine to take them home from the airport after returning from a friend’s wedding in Utah, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

Police identified the victims as Whitney Randle; her 13-month-old son, Kayden Randle-Finley; and her brother, 14-year-old Alexander Randle. All were passengers in the SUV. The driver, 44-year-old Mark Anthony Gay, the owner of Destiny Limousine Inc., was also killed.

Demetrius Randle, the father of Whitney and Alexander Randle, was in critical condition at a hospital. His wife, Falleen Randle, was admitted to a hospital but checked herself out early Tuesday to be with her husband, family members told the Journal-Constitution.

Latavius Finley, 22, the fiance of Whitney Randle and father of the 13-month-old boy, was in stable condition.

Falleen Randle’s sister told WXIA-TV she broke the news to her sister in the hospital. Sulianna Chandler said she told Randle that her two children and the family’s first grandchild had died.

“She just had the fear of God in her face,” Sulianna Chandler said. “‘What happened, tell me, tell me’ she said. They wanted the social worker there, so I could tell her. I just held her tight, and I said ‘Sis, Whitney’s gone. And Alex’ _ and she just cried and screamed on and said, ‘Oh my God, I don’t know why this is happening.”

Police say 11-year-old Meherali Hashim, who was traveling with his father in another car, was in stable condition. His father, Mehboob Hashim, 49, was not injured.

Schiralli said Rhoden abandoned his car at a hotel near the scene of the wreck, which is where police found it Tuesday morning.

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