Driving News – A-1 Driving School

School Bus Driver Charged After Multiple Elementary Students Died in Chattanooga

The driver of the school bus that crashed near Chattanooga has been arrested and charged with five counts of vehicular manslaughter.

Johnthony Walker, 24, is in custody.

The district’s attorney’s office has confirmed six elementary students in Chattanooga have died and many more are hurt after the school bus they were on crashed and wrapped around a tree.

The severity of the others’ injuries has not yet been reported.

Thirty-five students were on the bus at the time of the crash, WDEF reported.

Chattanooga Police Chief Fred Fletcher had said 23 of them have been taken to the hospital, but there may be more kids hurt, as crews were still working on rescuing people who were trapped.

Everyone has since been freed from the bus, according to the Chattanooga Fire Department.

It is unclear at this time what led to the crash, but police said the bus driver is cooperating with them.

The school district said it is bringing in extra counselors to offer support.

Photo: wreg.com
Here are some common rule of always stopping for a stopped school bus is not always correct:

Always Stop for a School Bus, when…

  1. Approaching behind a school bus when its’ lights flash yellow and red.
  2. Driving on either side of a 2-lane highway, both sides of traffic must always stop! for a stopped school bus.

Never Stop for a School Bus, when…

  1. Driving on the opposite side of traffic, on a 4-lane highway.

This is the common mistake most motorists make when approaching a stopped school bus.

If you are driving on the opposite side of the traffic of a school bus, on a 4-lane highway, always proceed with caution, but always keep moving! Stopping will impede traffic and may cause accidents.

For more safe driving information or safe driving practices, A-1 Driving Schools has 19 convenient locations around metro Atlanta that all offer defensive driving courses! For more information please call (770)962-9555 or visit us at www.a1drivingschools.com.

Our condolences go to the family and friends of those involved in this tragic accident. 

North Georgia High School Student Killed in Head-On Crash

All persons involved in the accident were transported to Northeast Georgia Medical Center,” the sheriff stated. “Sadly, one student succumbed to his injuries and was pronounced deceased at the hospital.”

The Georgia State Patrol has since identified the deceased driver as 17-year-old Carlos Christo Morales of Baldwin. The GSP reports that Morales was riding with his brother and cousin in a Ford F-150 pickup truck when a Jeep Cherokee crossed the center line and ran into them head-on.

Photo: 11alive.com

The other driver, Cherrie Pulido of Mt. Airy, now faces charges of driving under the influence, failure to maintain lane, failure to exercise due care, tire requirements and homicide by vehicle in the first degree.

She will be booked into the jail when released from the hospital, however, a spokesperson for the GSP said that she is being treated for serious injuries.

The other two teens who were riding with Morales, both 15 years old, didn’t have any serious or life-threatening injuries according to the trooper who filed the report.

The sheriff added that his office and the school system have put into place a support system for students, faculty, and staff following the tragic news.

Habersham Central High School counselors will be visiting classes of the three students who died to inform them of the tragedy and offer “support passes” to allow them to leave class or be excused to meet with counselors. Counselors will also be stationed in the staff development room at the high school to provide services to any students, faculty or staff.

Georgia State law also requires a clinical evaluation and the attendance of a DUI / Risk Reduction Program that’s certified/licensed by the Georgia Department of Driver’s Services before your driver’s license can be reinstated if you have been charged with any of the following:

  1. DUI
  2. Drug Possession
  3. Other drug offenses
  4. Under-age possession of drugs or alcohol

Before getting behind the wheel after having a few, consider the many reasons why you should not.

For more information about DUI School visit www.a1drivingschools.com or call (770) 962-9555!

Our condolences go to the family and friends of Carlos Morales, along with those impacted by this tragic accident. 

16-Year-Old Girl Killed in Suwanee has Been Identified

The victim of a fatal car accident on McGinnis Ferry Road in Suwanee was a Peachtree Ridge High School junior.

Photo: gdp.com (A vigil was held for Masih at the apartment complex)

Police said Samarah Masih was in her vehicle waiting to exit an apartment complex on McGinnis Ferry Road near Scales Road when a red Dodge pickup truck hit multiple vehicles before swerving into a private drive where it hit her car.

Police identified the driver of the pickup as 47-year-old Sugar Hill man, Sean Taylor. Police said charges are pending. Taylor was hospitalized at Northside Hospital-Gwinnett after the incident with non-life-threatening injuries, police said.

The Suwanee Police Department and Lilburn Accident Investigation Unit are working together. Suwanee police spokesperson Robert Thompson said Suwanee may bring in Georgia State Patrol to assist in mapping out the accident.

The accident happened at the Residences on McGinns Ferry apartment complex, located at 4025 McGinnis Ferry Road, police said.

Right now there is no further information about the accident.

Here are some quick tips for motorists:

  • Get plenty of rest. Symptoms of drowsy driving can include having trouble keeping your eyes open, drifting from lanes, or not remembering the last few miles driven.
  • Get some shades. Wear high-quality sunglasses and adjust the car’s sun visors as needed to avoid glare in the morning.
  • Change driving habits. Reduce speeds and increase following distances, especially in more populated areas.
  • Ditch the distractions. This can include cell phones, infotainment systems, or clocks that need to be turned back an hour.
  • Use the headlights. This can make you more visible to pedestrians in the morning and evening. Don’t forget, even though the time changed, many will stick to their normal habits of walking home or exercising in the later hours.
  • Remember to yield. Pedestrians have the right of way in crosswalks. Also, don’t pass vehicles stopped at crosswalks. Remember to yield the right of way to pedestrians in crosswalks.

The same safe driving practices that are taught in A-1’s Defensive Driving Class can apply to be a safe driver in a car and on a motorcycle. There is a lot of very useful and informative information in the class and it will apply whether you have been driving for years or you are a brand new driver.

For more information about class schedules or to see A-1’s 19 convenient locations call (770)962-9555 or visit us at www.a1drivingschools.com!

Buckle Up Before Getting on the Road This Thanksgiving Holiday

The Governor’s Office of Highway Safety and Georgia State Patrol remind drivers and passengers that the recipe for safe driving starts with buckling their seatbelt before every trip!

Those who do not comply with Georgia’s seatbelt law may come down with a case of “Click It or Ticket”. State and local law enforcement will be issuing citations during increased Thanksgiving travel period patrols.

Photo: Google Images

“Troopers and Motor Carrier Compliance officers will be out in full force during this Thanksgiving holiday period,” Georgia Department of Public Safety Commissioner Col. Mark McDonough said. “Thanksgiving is one of the most widely traveled holidays of the year and because of that, motorists should expect heavier traffic throughout the holiday. In order to make traveling safer, motorists should drive the legally posted speed limit, have every person in their vehicle properly restrained, and never drive distracted or impaired.”

Why is it so important? Because during the 2017 Thanksgiving travel period (6 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 22 to 5:59 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 27), 365 people were killed in traffic crashes nationwide. Nighttime proved even more deadly as it accounted for 57 percent of crashes during the Thanksgiving travel period.

In 2018, traffic crashes across Georgia during the 102-hour Thanksgiving travel period (6 p.m. on Nov. 22 to 11:59 p.m. on Nov. 25) resulted in 15 fatalities. In addition to the crashes, the Georgia State Patrol alone issued 11,523 citations, 17,046 warnings and arrested 339 people for driving under the influence.

The best defense against all of those careless drivers is a buckled seatbelt.

“More than half the people killed in traffic crashes in Georgia last year were not wearing a seatbelt and many of those who died likely would be alive today had they clicked that seatbelt,” GOHS Director Allen Poole said.

According to NHTSA, there have been more alcohol-related fatal crashes surrounding the Thanksgiving holiday weekend than any other holiday period during the year. If alcohol is part of the reunion plans, family members and friends need to arrange a sober ride home before the night begins.

“Don’t let a DUI crash ruin what is supposed to be a great time of fellowship with family and friends,” Poole said.

Make that plan for a sober ride home before the night begins.

All motorists can use the following tips to stay safe, focused, sober and patient while traveling:

  • Plan ahead for a sober ride.
  • Arrange for a designated driver, use a rideshare service or program the numbers for cab companies into your phone.
  • You can also plan to use public transportation, but check schedules ahead of time in case service is altered during the holiday.
  • Don’t try to make up time by speeding. Because of extra traffic on the road, leave for your destination earlier than needed to allow for increased travel time.
  • Make sure everyone in your vehicle is wearing their seat belt and all children under 8 are riding in an approved child passenger safety seat or booster seat.
  • Limit driver distractions by staying off phones. Program GPS before you get on the road or have a passenger be in charge of navigation.
  • Take breaks to avoid drowsy driving: Plan rest stops as needed and alternate drivers if possible!

The same safe driving practices that are taught in A-1’s Defensive Driving Class can be applied to be a safe driver in a car and on a motorcycle. There is a lot of very useful and informative information in the class and it will apply whether you have been driving for years or you are a brand new driver.

For more information about class schedules or to see A-1’s 19 convenient locations call (770)962-9555 or visit us at www.a1drivingschools.com!

2 Men Detained in Gwinnett on National TV

Two men who were pulled over and detained on live television were convicted by a Gwinnett County jury on drug-related charges stemming from that televised incident.

The jury convicted Cristhian Guzman de Paz, 21, on trafficking methamphetamine or amphetamine charge and Alexander Arellano, 20, on a possession of marijuana, less than an ounce, charge.

Guzman de Paz received a 25-year prison sentence and must pay a $1 million fine, while Arellano got a 12-month jail sentence.

Photo: gdp.com – Guzman De Paz
Photo: gdp.com – Alexander Arellano

“On June 6, 2018, while filming for A&E’s ‘Live PD,’ Deputy Baker pulled a car over in the parking lot of the Valero gas station on Beaver Ruin Road just off Interstate 85,” prosecutors said. “During the traffic stop, Deputy Baker smelled marijuana and the passenger turned over a small amount of marijuana to him.

“He then detained both the driver, Guzman de Paz, and the passenger, Arellano, and he searched the car.”

A substance that prosecutors said “appeared to be methamphetamine” was found in two plastic Tupperware-type containers by law enforcement officers as they searched the car. The drugs were seized and turned over to the Gwinnett Metro Task Force.

Testing at the GBI Crime Lab later confirmed law enforcement’s suspicion that the substance was methamphetamine.

“A forensic chemist tested one of the plastic containers, and the methamphetamine in that container weighed 958 grams,” prosecutors said. “The other container appeared to have a similar amount in it.

“The estimated value of a kilogram of methamphetamine around that time was $7,000 a kilogram, but if sold in one gram increments, the value could increase up to $60 a gram totaling approximately $120,000.”

Georgia State law requires clinical evaluation and the attendance of the DUI program that’s certified/licensed by the Georgia Department of Driver’s Services before your driver’s license can be reinstated if you have been charged with any of the following:

  1. DUI
  2. Drug Possession
  3. Other drug offenses
  4. Under-age possession of drugs or alcohol

For more information visit www.a1drivingschools.com or call (770) 962-9555!

Mercer Student Killed During Tragic Crash

A Snellville man who reportedly escaped from a “probation detention center work detail” in Gwinnett crashed a car he was driving — resulting in the death of a Mercer University student — after a chase in Monroe and Bibb counties, according to a report from the Macon Telegraph.

The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office told the newspaper that Erick Guillermo Tapia-Algeria, 25, is facing multiple traffic charges because of the chase, which began just south of the city of Forsyth on Interstate 75, moved over to Interstate 475 and ended with the crash at the Macon Mall.

Reports say law enforcement began pursuing the vehicle when it was observed going 112 mph on the interstate and speeds got as high as 140 mph during the chase.

The Mercer student, identified as Stone Mountain resident Sapphire Thomas, 21, was reportedly a passenger in the car driven by Tapia-Algeria.

Our condolences go out to the family and friends of Sapphire Thomas.

Photo: Google Images

Speeding is more than just breaking the law. The consequences are far-ranging:

  • Greater potential for loss of vehicle control;
  • Reduced effectiveness of occupant protection equipment;
  • Increased stopping distance after the driver perceives a danger;
  • Increased degree of crash severity leading to more severe injuries;
  • Economic implications of a speed-related crash; and
  • Increased fuel consumption/cost.

Speeding behavior and aggressive drivers may not only affect the speeder—it can also affect other drivers, pedestrians, and bicyclists. Here are some tips for encountering speeders on the road: 

  • Give speeding drivers plenty of space. Speeding drivers may lose control of their vehicles more easily.
  • Adjust your driving accordingly. Speeding is tied to aggressive driving. If a speeding driver is tailgating you or trying to engage you in risky driving, use judgment to safely steer your vehicle out of the way.
  • Call the police if you believe a driver is following you or harassing you.

To stay safe on the road consider taking a defensive driving class. A-1 offers classes at 19 locations where you can learn more tricks and tips such as these!

Weed Breathalyzer May Reassure Policymakers

When New Jersey lawmakers debated earlier this year whether to legalize recreational use of marijuana, the Garden State’s police organizations were adamantly against it.

The cops said that legal weed might lead to an explosion in the numbers of impaired drivers operating under the influence. And the police would be caught flatfooted trying to tell whether drivers they pulled over were high or not.

“With alcohol, if you have over 0.08% in your blood, there’s the presumption that you’re intoxicated,” said Christopher Leusner, head of the New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police.

“There hasn’t been a blood test or a breath test that can determine if you’re impaired by marijuana.”

Now there is.

Photo: Google Images

It’s a breathalyzer device developed by Hound Labs in Northern California. It’s portable and can run tests for both alcohol and marijuana. It just may change the minds of many of those reluctant police officers, including in Pennsylvania as lawmakers consider several proposals to legalize recreational marijuana use.

Intrinsic Capital Partners, a Philadelphia growth equity fund, is so convinced of a “potential massive market” for the device that it led a $30 million Series D financing round to bring it to market in 2020.

Mike Lynn, a veteran emergency department physician from Oakland, Calif., developed the Hound in collaboration with researchers from the University of California at Berkeley and San Francisco.

Lynn also happens to be a reserve deputy sheriff.

“It’s about creating a balance of public safety and fairness,” Lynn said. “I’ve seen the tragedies resulting from impaired driving up close. And I have a good idea how challenging it is at the roadside to know whether someone smoked pot recently. But I believe if someone is not stoned, they shouldn’t be arrested.”

Blood tests for marijuana can return a positive result even if someone has used cannabis within the last three weeks.

Lynn claims that his device can detect whether someone has smoked or ingested a marijuana edible within the last three hours.

Police have depended on the skunky stench of burnt marijuana to provide probable cause to search a car or conduct a field sobriety test on a driver. But a recent court ruling in Pennsylvania maintained that the smell alone isn’t sufficient reason to initiate an arrest.

In addition, cannabis consumers in many states are slowly trending toward edibles — from pot brownies to infused beverages and lozenges — and, until the recent scare, vaping.

So the breath analyzers appear to be arriving at the perfect moment.

In about eight months, Lynn’s team was able to detect THC in the breath of smokers. It took five more years to consistently and accurately measure levels with a machine with a cost in reach of most police departments and employers.

DUI Laws | What You Need to Know

The laws make it illegal for drivers of all ages to operate motor vehicles if they have BAC percentages of:

  • 0.08% or higher, if they’re 21 years old or older operating regular passenger vehicles.
  • 0.04% or higher, if they’re operating commercial vehicles.
  • 0.02% or higher, if they’re younger than 21 years old.

Georgia State law also requires a clinical evaluation and the attendance of a DUI / Risk Reduction Program that’s certified/licensed by the Georgia Department of Driver’s Services before your driver’s license can be reinstated if you have been charged with any of the following:

  1. DUI
  2. Drug Possession
  3. Other drug offenses
  4. Under-age possession of drugs or alcohol

Before getting behind the wheel after having a few, consider the many reasons why you should not.

For more information about DUI School visit www.a1drivingschools.com or call (770) 962-9555!

UGA Student Killed in Hit-and-Run

A Hartwell man faces vehicular homicide charges after slamming head-on into a car driven by a University of Georgia student and then leaving the scene, Athens police said.

The student, identified as 20-year-old junior Drury Anderson Shierling, was killed about 6 a.m. on Timothy Road when the other driver took a curve too fast and crossed into his lane, according to a crash report.

Photo: ajc.com

The driver who caused the wreck, identified by police as 51-year-old Edward Lee Stowers, was traveling north from the Inner Loop to Timothy Road when his rented 2018 Ford Fusion crossed the raised median and entered the southbound lanes, authorities said.

Our thoughts and prayers go to the family and friends of Drury Shierling.

Tips And Techniques For Safe Curve Driving

  1. Obey Posted Speed Limits: Speeding is at the top of the list for driving in general and if you don’t obey the rules of the roads; you’ll end up killing you or someone else. If there isn’t a speed limit sign near a curve, use good judgment and decrease your speed.
  2. Stay In Your Lane: When approaching curves always scan ahead and stay between the lane-lines. Do not hug the curve too closely while driving in the outer lane. If you’re driving in the inner lane, try not to drift outward, which will cause an accident.
  3. Decrease In/Accelerate Out: After the midway point of the curve it is good to speed up just a bit. This way you can begin to catch up with the posted speed limit of the area. The opposite is to slow down when entering, which gives you a safer approach by giving the driver more control of the vehicle. Straighten the steering wheel as you come out of the curve.

Tips for regaining control in a skid

If the vehicle does begin to skid on a winding road, drivers mustn’t react with panic when they find that the brakes, accelerator, and steering wheel aren’t working as usual.

Instead, they should take their feet off the brake and accelerator. Both hands should remain loose on the steering wheel, but not make any sudden movements.

The critical thing is to avoid oversteering and hitting the brakes too hard. After the vehicle has had time to slow down, regain control safely; gently apply the brake and begin steering again.

To stay safe on the road consider taking a defensive driving class. A-1 offers classes at 19 locations where you can learn more tricks and tips such as these!

Alpharetta Police Clocked Driver Going 131 Miles Per Hour on Ga. 400

According to police, when they chased the driver, he accelerated even faster and his car went airborne across McFarland Parkway, struck a median and flipped over a guardrail.

Photo: www.underthegeorgiasun.com

Below is the information about the incident from the Alpharetta department’s Facebook page:

“While this driver is facing several charges, we’re so very thankful we didn’t have to deliver a fatality notification to his, or anyone else’s family.

“One of our DUI Officers clocked this Volvo traveling 131 mph, heading north on GA 400 through Alpharetta near Haynes Bridge Road. Our officer tried to catch up and stop the car, but once the driver saw the blue lights, he accelerated faster and per our officer, “He tried to exit at McFarland Pkwy but was going too fast, went airborne across McFarland, hit the concrete median, and flipped over the guardrail. He was able to walk out”.

Charges include DUI, Open Container of Alcohol, Reckless Driving, Speeding, Fleeing and Eluding from Law Enforcement.

How do you keep a car from going airborne? The true answer is that you have to slow down!

Georgia State law also requires clinical evaluation and the attendance of a DUI / Risk Reduction Program that’s certified/licensed by the Georgia Department of Driver’s Services before your driver’s license can be reinstated if you have been charged with any of the following:

  1. DUI
  2. Drug Possession
  3. Other drug offenses
  4. Under-age possession of drugs or alcohol

Before getting behind the wheel after having a few, consider the many reasons why you should not.

For more information about DUI School visit www.a1drivingschools.com or call (770) 962-9555!

Man Injured in Suspected Drunk Driving Hit-and-Run, Macon

A 38-year-old man was injured in a crash on the 5400 block of Mount Church Road in Macon.

Brittany Boyd has been charged with DUI and hit and run causing injuries.

Photo: Google Maps

According to the Bibb County Sheriff’s Office, Boyd was driving a Ford Expedition with two passengers along Mount Pleasant Church Road at around 5:30 p.m. when she crashed into a Honda Oddysey. A 38-year-old man in the Odyssey was injured in the crash.

Boyd is accused of driving away from the scene of the crash. A witness followed Boyd’s vehicle and contacted the sheriff’s office. Deputies responded to the call and found Boyd on Griffin’s Hill Road. Part of the Honda Odyssey was still stuck on Boyd’s vehicle.

Boyd was arrested. The man who was injured was brought to The Medical Center, Navicent Health and was listed in stable condition. No one else was injured in the crash.

We are glad to hear that there were no serious injuries involved in this accident.

Georgia State law also requires a clinical evaluation and the attendance of a DUI / Risk Reduction Program that’s certified/licensed by the Georgia Department of Driver’s Services before your driver’s license can be reinstated if you have been charged with any of the following:

  1. DUI
  2. Drug Possession
  3. Other drug offenses
  4. Under-age possession of drugs or alcohol

Before getting behind the wheel after having a few, consider the many reasons why you should not.

For more information about DUI School visit www.a1drivingschools.com or call (770) 962-9555!