Police probe death of teacher hit by vehicle

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A day after 24-year-old Christian Giles was fatally hit by a vehicle in Evans, neighbors fondly recalled the kindergarten teacher and raised safety concerns about speeding by some motorists in the area.

Christian Giles: Teacher was hit by an SUV on  Thursday while out walking her dogs with her husband.  Special
Special
Christian Giles: Teacher was hit by an SUV on Thursday while out walking her dogs with her husband.

Meanwhile, police focused their investigation on 24-year-old Brandon Wise, the driver of the Ford Expedition that was involved.

Members of the Columbia County Sheriff's Office Traffic Unit were at the scene Thursday photographing and measuring the area.

"Part of our investigation is to determine if speed was a factor," said Columbia County sheriff's Capt. Steve Morris. Charges are pending against Mr. Wise, he said.

He said there is no indication alcohol or drugs played a role, but investigators will await the results of a blood alcohol test, which could take several weeks to a few months to complete.

A Thursday autopsy determined Mrs. Giles, a kindergarten teacher at John Milledge Elementary School in Augusta, died from blunt force trauma to the head, Columbia County Coroner Vernon Collins said.

Auburn Giles told authorities he was walking in the grassy shoulder while his wife walked along the edge of the road, Mr. Collins said. The two were walking southbound with their dogs when the accident occurred about 9 p.m. Wednesday.

The impact with the vehicle threw Mrs. Giles about 70 feet, Mr. Collins said.

Mr. Wise told police he was traveling south on Mullikin Road and didn't see Mrs. Giles until it was too late to avoid striking her, Capt. Morris said. The site of the collision on Mullikin Road was near where Mrs. Giles lives on Sawbuck Way.

"I usually walk up that road," said neighbor Carolyn Long, referring to Mullikin Road. "I'm afraid to do that now. There's no sidewalks or anything."

The cul de sac at the end of Sawbuck Way is very much a social circle for those who live nearby, neighbors said.

Ms. Long, who only knew Mrs. Giles through neighborly waves and greetings, said she often sees motorists speeding along Mullikin Road, which has a 30 mph speed limit.

Neighbor Dean Lowe said Mrs. Giles and her husband were well liked in their neighborhood and had already become part of the area's active and social community when he moved there about a year ago.

Mrs. Giles, a 2007 cum laude graduate of Augusta State University, completed her first year of teaching in the spring and married Mr. Giles in October.

Mr. Lowe said he's known Mr. Giles and his family for a while and would often see Mrs. Giles as he went out on regular evening Harley-Davidson rides.

"I ride several evenings a week and I've seen her out walking with her dogs plenty of times," Mr. Lowe said. "That's not unusual."

Mr. Lowe said he has noticed speeding is a problem in the area, even down his street which ends in a cul de sac.

"We've petitioned to have speed bumps put in this neighborhood," he said, adding that there are often plenty of neighbors and children in and around the street in the evening. "Even in this cul de sac, there's still people who come down this thing and think it is a through-road or something."

Reach Valerie Rowell at 868-1222, ext. 110 or valerie.rowell@augustachronicle.com.

Comments (127) Add comment
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Debster
1
Points
Debster 07/18/08 - 04:56 am
0
0
My heart goes out to Mr.

My heart goes out to Mr. Giles and the entire family in the tragic loss of Mrs. Giles. There are too many roads in our county where drivers fail to travel at the designated speeds and there is far more danger lurking than most people realize. On my own road, the speed limit is 25, but rarely do residents drive that slow. Please be careful and watch out for others!

justus4
99
Points
justus4 07/18/08 - 05:45 am
0
0
This is an unfortunate
Unpublished

This is an unfortunate accident which has taken a human life. However, that road and many others are extremely dangerous for pedestrians. This no-shoulder road was an accident waiting to happen, so don't attempt to assign 100% culpability to the young driver. Again, another deadly accident on a poorly developed road...your tax dollars @ work, or not.

whynot2
5
Points
whynot2 07/18/08 - 06:29 am
0
0
You would think that with 2

You would think that with 2 schools in that area, that sidewalks would be installed. Too many times I watched kids walking down the side of the road or even in the road going home. Use SPLOST money for this and stop building parks and govt buildings, better yet not clean ponds out who belong to Westlake.

justputtin
1384
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justputtin 07/18/08 - 06:42 am
0
0
People need to slow down,

People need to slow down, period. My heart goes out to this family.

habersham100
163
Points
habersham100 07/18/08 - 06:43 am
0
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Was this young man talking on

Was this young man talking on his cell phone? Was he adjusting his sound? Was he studying his navigation system? He obviously was doing something besides watching where he was going and being a careful driver. Being careful entails more than just on-coming traffic. It's paying attention to your surroundings. Unfortunate, to say the least, but he will live with the sound of his vehicle striking a human and taking her life for the rest of his life, whether or not the courts find him criminally responsible. We can't blame the cities or the counties for lack of personal responsibility. I hope he asks God to forgive him... I'm not sure I can...

ColdBeerBoiledPeanuts
7294
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ColdBeerBoiledPeanuts 07/18/08 - 06:52 am
0
0
Why was the developer of the

Why was the developer of the subdivision not required to put in sidewalks? That is the question that should be asked. It's not always governments job.

patriciathomas
42
Points
patriciathomas 07/18/08 - 06:52 am
0
0
While walking on a road with

While walking on a road with your back to traffic is never a good idea, especially at night on a road known to have many speeders, this tragedy could have been easily avoided if the young driver were not driving so fast. Obviously too fast for the conditions he encountered. Culpability seems to be spread fairly evenly in this article.

misserica1985
0
Points
misserica1985 07/18/08 - 07:04 am
0
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My heart goes out to Mr.Giles

My heart goes out to Mr.Giles and the Daniels family. Mrs. Giles was my daughters teacher. She was so sweet .People on the roads need to abide by the speed limits to avoid accidents. I will
keep the family in my prayers.

peonynut
2
Points
peonynut 07/18/08 - 07:16 am
0
0
The pedestrian has a

The pedestrian has a responsibilty also.

debby
12
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debby 07/18/08 - 07:17 am
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I walk daily in the Amherst

I walk daily in the Amherst subdivision in Grovetown. Everyday, I invariably have to step up onto someone's lawn because a speeding car zooms by way too close to me, even though no other cars are coming from the other direction. I estimate that these cars are traveling about 20 miles over the speed limit. Slow down people!

stillamazed
1488
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stillamazed 07/18/08 - 07:30 am
0
0
Same thing in my

Same thing in my neighborhood, I think people at the end of the street see how fast they can get up to before they reach the top of the hill. I would guess that some people come down our street hitting 50-55 mph and on one of those streets we actually have 2 Columbia Deputies who live there. People just have no respect at all. Bless her family. Speeding will most likely end up being a factor in this tragidy but don't judge before the truth comes out.

JFJ
0
Points
JFJ 07/18/08 - 08:03 am
0
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This is exactly why I

This is exactly why I petitioned to have speed humps installed in our subdivision way to many people driving far over the speed limit and not being aware of their surroundings. My heart goes out to the Giles family.

lisakindertchr
0
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lisakindertchr 07/18/08 - 08:10 am
0
0
To justus4 and patriciathomas

To justus4 and patriciathomas and peonynut, you guys are horrible. Reguardless of where she was walking, Christian lost her LIFE. You should not be worried about pointing the finger at her and send your sympathy to her family! This is a very tragic accident and no matter what the investigation turns up, it will never bring her life back. You are horrible!

onlynaugusta
41
Points
onlynaugusta 07/18/08 - 08:21 am
0
0
My heart goes out to the

My heart goes out to the Giles Family. Speed bumps and all these regulations should have been put into effect prior to someone losing their life. Why does it take a disaster to happen before change appears? If this woman wouldn't have gotten killed and these same issues were brought abroad, no one would have care. Now that somoene has lost their life all of a sudden all ears have opened. Every neighborhood whether its richmond county or columbia county, needs speed bumps. This should be a requirement with the deveolpment of any neighborhood. It's too damn late now to discuss speeding!

Goaliemom1987
7
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Goaliemom1987 07/18/08 - 08:23 am
0
0
The speeding on Mullikin road

The speeding on Mullikin road is a problem all through the year. The CCSO needs to step up. I travel that road and even when school is going on "NO ONE" slows down. I have had parents ride my bumper in the school zone so they can get little Johnny to school on time.The parents that are bringing their children to school are the ones who do most of the speeding threw the school zone. I travel threw Evans Elementary also and at least twice a week I see a cop checking for speeders. I have never seen a cop checking for speeders on Mullikin Rd. Come on CCSO let's start patrolling our streets

ToGodBeTheGlory
0
Points
ToGodBeTheGlory 07/18/08 - 08:36 am
0
0
This is, without a doubt, a

This is, without a doubt, a tragic loss. Let's stop placing blame on anyone until the facts are complete. What we need to do is pray for both these families. Put yourself in their place and then you may see things differently. In this fast pace world we live in there could have been a number of things that " could " have happened on either side. So please pray for all involved.

Little Lamb
44796
Points
Little Lamb 07/18/08 - 08:37 am
0
0
9 o'clock at night is a

9 o'clock at night is a dangerous time for bicyclists and pedestrians. It's difficult to see a pedestrian in that twilight. Some roads are not good for walking at night. My heart aches for the families in this tragic situation.

imho1
0
Points
imho1 07/18/08 - 08:46 am
0
0
Some of you need to realize

Some of you need to realize that sometimes tragic accidents happen and no one is to blame. The girl was not at fault for walking on a road with no sidewalk, the county is not at fault for not putting sidewalks along what is essentially a county road, no one knows how fast the driver was going or if he was distracted in any way. Placing speed bumps on every road in every town in the country would probably reduce some accidents, so would putting four way stop signs at every intersection. Both of those actions would make getting to and from work, school, etc. so time consuming that our everyday lives would be horribly impacted. The reality is that we build roads so that people can travel to their destinations in a reasonable amount of time, not to act as 100% safe corridors for driving, walking, bicycling, etc. As long as people and automobiles travel in any proximity to each other, the potential for accidents is present. This is truly a tragedy and I feel very sorry for everyone involved, but the finger pointing, second guessing, and speculation is pointless and does no good.

noway
201
Points
noway 07/18/08 - 08:56 am
0
0
This is a horrible tragedy.

This is a horrible tragedy. This is one very good reason why governments should require developers to put in sidewalks. If they don't, developers aren't going to spend the money. Governments are afraid if they put too many stipulations on developers, then they'll leave. Well let them. Every new community in Col and Richmond County does NOT have sidewalks. God bless this family.

crackertroy
540
Points
crackertroy 07/18/08 - 08:57 am
0
0
imho -my sentiments likewise
Unpublished

imho -my sentiments likewise (except he was probably speeding because you will not be thrown 70ft at 30 mph)

concerned4
1
Points
concerned4 07/18/08 - 08:59 am
0
0
peonynut, the pedestrian has

peonynut, the pedestrian has the right of way. If this driver would not have been speeding, Mrs. Giles would be with us today. I am sure he was distracted by a cell phone or loud music or something to not see two adults and dogs.
He need to have charged on him like anyone else who kill someone with a motor vehichle.
The law is the law. He can say I am sorry but Mrs. Giles won't know it. GO TO JAIL YOUNG MAN AND LEARN TO DRIVE WITH RESPONSIBILITY.

TrippN
0
Points
TrippN 07/18/08 - 09:03 am
0
0
Everyone needs to realize

Everyone needs to realize that it is not just one family who has gone through a horrific accident. While the Giles family is coping with the death of a wife/daughter, Mr. Wise has to live knowing that he was a direct part of this tragedy. So instead of saying if Mr. Wise was not speeding or Mrs Giles and her husband would have been walking against traffic, everyone should pray for both families knowing that several lives will forever be impacted dramatically because of this terrible event. My thoughts and prayers go out to both families.

tam75
0
Points
tam75 07/18/08 - 09:27 am
0
0
i suppose all of you readers

i suppose all of you readers that are making comments about the accident, without knowing all the facts i need to add, have never walked the wrong way on a road in the dark, have never exceded the speed limit, or never adjusted the radion while you were driving. and lets not forget the dreaded cell phone. just shut up all the accusations and comments and just pray for both of these families. their lives will nevr be the same and they don't need to be subjected to your kangarro courts... just shut up and pray.

imho1
0
Points
imho1 07/18/08 - 09:43 am
0
0
To noway; fyi, Mulliken road

To noway; fyi, Mulliken road is a county road paved and maintained by Columbia County. A developer did not build the road, so requiring developers to install sidewalks would not have made any difference in this case. Why not make developers install crash proof concrete barriers between the road and the sidewalk as well? That would save a life eventually. The county could also require pedestrian bridges over all roads every 100 yards, so no one would ever have to actually walk on a street. Add speed bumps every 100 feet and place a police car on every road, and make the developer pay for all of this. This would be the safest place on the planet. Who cares if no one could afford to live here due to the high cost of development, after all safety is all that matters. To "concerned04"; you should immediately contact the Columbia County Sherrif's dept since you are "sure" the driver was distracted. You could give them all of your evidence and make the case against the driver a slam dunk to prosecute.

gnx
7
Points
gnx 07/18/08 - 09:49 am
0
0
It's obvious Christian didn't

It's obvious Christian didn't jump out in front of the driver, so it's also obvious that inattention of some form on the part of the driver is a contributing factor here. Any time you're driving in a neighborhood you should pay attention to road conditions and surroundings and drive cautiously as you never know what you will encounter. It could be children chasing a stray ball bouncing into the road or a squirrel running out in front of you. You just never know. imho - roads may be built for motorist convenience, but driving faster than the posted speed limit unfortunately is the norm around here. One of the main roads in my own neighborhood recently had speed humps installed, so, in the name of 'convenience' everyone is now driving like a bat out of hell down my road in order to make up lost time. There have been a few times I have been passed by these cars 'conveniently' traveling down my road fast enough to make my shorts spin. People need to realize they are sharing the road with everyone in residential areas and that it's not their personal speedway.

Little Lamb
44796
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Little Lamb 07/18/08 - 09:50 am
0
0
To imho; your 8:46 post was

To imho; your 8:46 post was so well reasoned, so well written, that it guaranteed a response from some less capable in analytical skills. I sympathize with the frustration in your 9:43 post.

soccerfan
18
Points
soccerfan 07/18/08 - 09:50 am
0
0
Well said tam75 only a cell

Well said tam75 only a cell phone did not apply in this accident. As a former property owner in that same area, I can personally attest to frequent walkers & runners at that end of the road that walked/ran on the wrong side of the road and expected me to get all the way in the other lane to go around them. Although that end of the road is very quiet and pretty which draws many pedestrians, that area is not a subdivision and not condusive to walking & running. I'm surprized it took 10 years to happen. Both of these familes are in pain and accusations will not relieve it.

CSRAresident
1
Points
CSRAresident 07/18/08 - 09:55 am
0
0
Wait a minute...It could take

Wait a minute...It could take weeks or months to get results of an alcohol test? Since when did this start hapening? Does this mean GA can't give roadside sobriety tests anylonger? Does it mean all the DUI's are going to be dimissed until new tests are perfomed? What a joke.

Little Lamb
44796
Points
Little Lamb 07/18/08 - 09:56 am
0
0
Odds are that no alcohol was

Odds are that no alcohol was involved in this accident. However, the police had medical personnel draw a blood sample and send it off to a lab. They expect results in a FEW MONTHS. If the test is run a few months down the road, the results will be meaningless. Alcohol and drugs oxidize slower outside the body than in, but they do change chemical form. The tests need to be analyze much quicker than a FEW MONTHS. If the lab is backed up that bad, the police would do the taxpayers a service by not drawing the samples at all.

Grinder
0
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Grinder 07/18/08 - 10:08 am
0
0
as tragic as it is, we don't

as tragic as it is, we don't need to spend tax $ every time something like this happens. People need to take responsibility. It's probably not wise to walk on the shoulder of a road like this.

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