Driver in deadly Burke County drag race surrenders

Two men face first-degree homicide by vehicle and other charges in connection with a drag race Sunday that killed two people in Burke County, Ga.

Torrance Lamar Crumbley, 33, of Waynesboro, turned himself in at the Burke County jail at 5:35 p.m. Tuesday. Michael Mathis, 38, also from Waynesboro, is expected to turn himself in Wednesday, Burke County Sheriff Greg Coursey said.

Both men are accused of killing Kevin Johnson, 27, of Sardis, Ga., and Keshon Burdette, 15, of Waynesboro.

Johnson and Burdette were recording the race on Seven Oaks Road about 6 p.m. Sunday when they were hit by an out-of-control car.

Both Crumbley and Mathis left the scene immediately, but Mathis was tracked down shortly after by the Georgia State Patrol because he had suffered injuries in the wreck. His car flipped several times and was totaled.

Mathis was taken to Medical College of Georgia Hospital where law enforcement has monitored him. The reason he was not immediately arrested was to avoid the county having to pay medical bills. If he had been arrested before or during treatment, the county would have been considered his caretaker and would have had to pay his medical expenses. This way, Mathis will be responsible for them, according to Trooper 1st Class Samuel Price of the state patrol.

Coursey said Mathis was treated by a doctor Tuesday, which is why he had not surrendered yet.

Price said Crumbley had been identified by witnesses almost immediately at the scene, so officers had been to his house several times. Law enforcement had received several calls saying he was involved.

“The public was outraged about them killing people and then leaving,” Price said. “I think that’s what got so many people to come forward.”

Crumbley was on the way to his lawyer’s office Tuesday when he called Price. After consulting with his lawyer, Crumbley decided to turn himself in, Price said.

Crumbley and Mathis will be held at the jail on the initial warrant charge for vehicular homicide, Price said. If convicted, that charge could mean three to 15 years in jail.

Price said he will charge the two men Wednesday with reckless driving, leaving the scene of an accident with serious injury and drag racing.

Price and other state patrol officers will also inspect both cars and issue charges for any illegalities on their vehicles such as nitrous oxide or slick tires.

The state patrol is not releasing some details, such as whether one or both cars hit the victims. But Price said it does not matter because they were both involved.

“They were participating in a speed contest between vehicles on the highway,” he said. “They are both responsible.”

Price also said there will be other arrests made relating to this case, but did not go into detail about who or what the charges will be.

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Mon, 12/05/2016 - 22:47

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