The driver who lost control of his car and hit three Stone Mountain High School students on their way home from school Jan. 20 may have been hit from behind or racing with another car, DeKalb County Police said.
Shaheed Saunders, 17, lost control of his green Crown Victoria and the car hit three students, killing 14-year-old Tanisha Williams, DeKalb Police spokeswoman Mekka Parrish said.
Williams was taken to Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta where she later died, Parrish said. The other two victims, Stone Mountain students Brianna Rowell and Benjamin Omozui, were taken to area hospitals for treatment. Omozui is in serious condition at Atlanta Medical Center, according to a hospital spokeswoman.
Saunders also is a student at Stone Mountain High School.
“(Saunders) was attempting to pass a car on the curve at a high rate of speed,” Parrish said. “He lost control of the car and went up on the sidewalk. The driver of the second car contacted detectives and gave a statement. Some witnesses are saying they might have been racing.”
The name of the second driver has not been released, but police spokesman Jason Gagnon said the driver is a 17-year-old Stone Mountain High School student.
Charges against Saunders were expected to be announced by the end of the week, Parrish said on Jan. 25. Any charges against the second driver would be announced by then as well, Parrish said.Parrish said charges will come against Saunders and could include vehicular homicide, reckless driving and improper passing. The vehicular homicide charge could be a misdemeanor or a felony, Parrish said. If it is determined there are aggravating circumstances like speeding in a school zone or racing, then the vehicular homicide charge would be a felony, Parrish said.
Dannon Bew, a 17-year-old senior at Stone Mountain, was just a few yards away from the car when it ran up on the sidewalk.
“One of the other cars tried to go around the green car, and it looked like it hit (the green car) but I’m not sure. It got real close,” said Bew, who had a class with Saunders last semester.
The Tanisha Williams Memorial Fund has been set up and donations can be made at any Wachovia Bank branch. The fund will help the family pay for funeral expenses.