Whitney Revis was 20 years old when she lost her life to a drunk driver June 4.
The driver, Christopher Chason Roberts, had been charged with DUI twice before in Richmond County. However, he was prosecuted for only one of those incidents.
Revis was a passenger in Roberts' 1997 Honda when it struck a guardrail at the westbound entrance to Bobby Jones Expressway from Doug Barnard Parkway. Roberts left the scene in a patrol car on charges of driving under the influence, open container and serious injury by motor vehicle.
Revis left in an ambulance in critical condition. Doctors at Medical College of Georgia Hospital placed her on life support. Three days later, she died from anoxic brain injury.
Her family, who could not be reached for comment, called Revis "her parents' miracle baby" in her obituary.
Charges against Roberts were upgraded to homicide.
Roberts was jailed in January 2000 for his first DUI. Judge Sheryl B. Jolly sentenced him to 12 months each on charges of driving with an unlawful liquor concentration of alcohol, no headlights and open container.
Two years later, deputies had another run-in with Roberts. This time he was arrested on charges of DUI and weaving, but the case disappeared. Solicitor General Charles Evans attributes that to an error.
"It looks like from what research I've done it was marked as a disposed file sometime between 2003 and 2008," Evans said.
Disposed files, which are marked by a large "D" on the folder, are shelved awaiting a month-by-month transfer to records retention. Eventually the retention files will be destroyed after permission is given to destroy a certain year or semester's worth of files.
"Short of going back and conducting an investigation of people who no longer work here, I'll have to assume if people were doing their jobs that someone made an error and marked it as disposed," Evans said.
Roberts' file lived in retention for around three months before being requested in 2008, Evans said. Roberts was added to the court calendar and then bench warranted after not appearing.
He crashed into a concrete barrier in October. Roberts, who held an active license at the time, was arrested on a bench warrant.
He will now be prosecuted for the 2002 DUI in addition to the fatal crash this month.
Evans said he couldn't say what charges Roberts would have received in the 2002 case or whether he would have been named a habitual violator.
Sentencing for DUIs typically depends on the judge, he said.
Even before the first two DUIs, Roberts had run afoul of the law while driving. He had been charged with a felony count of serious injury by motor vehicle at age 18 in 1992.
Court documents show Roberts pulled his vehicle into the path of James Kevin Furlan's vehicle at Old Savannah and Tobacco roads.
Furlan suffered a broken back and was paralyzed from the waist down.
Officers at the scene requested Roberts submit to a blood-alcohol test, which came back negative.
The felony count was dismissed after a judge discovered no evidence of recklessness in the case, court documents said.