Driver behind bars after crash that killed teen

By Taylor Barnhill  - bio | email | Twitter

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Nearly 300 feet of skid marks spread down Mobley Road, leaving signs of a crash that claimed the young life of Grant Laverty.

Grant's friend Kunal Patel said, "He was a lovable person, everybody here loves him to death and he can make anybody laugh and he was just a great guy. We're here in his memory."

Monday night Grant's friends placed a memorial in the spot where he lost his life after the driver of a car he was riding in lost control and wrecked into another vehicle.

"I met Grant four years ago and we've been best friends ever since. He's the most loving person I've ever met in my life, one of the most big-hearted people," Grant's friend Ashley Gatlin told News Leader Nine.

Nineteen-year-old Chad Starling was behind the wheel of the 2000 Honda Civic and ran from the scene after the crash, leaving Grant in the back seat.

Witnesses on the scene tell police Starling reached speeds exceeding 100 miles per hour when he struck another car. Grant later died from his injuries and Chad Starling later admitted himself to the hospital.

Police reports show Starling was driving without a license and had several active suspensions on his driving record. Although he blew a .00 breathalyzer, reports indicate drugs and alcohol could have played a role in the crash.

He is currently being held in the Muscogee County Jail with no bond listed for probation violation. Police tell us further charges are pending.

Grant Laverty's family has said that in lieu of flowers the family requests donations be made in Grant's memory to Trauma Services at the Medical Center.

Contributions can be made to Columbus Regional Medical Foundation. P.O. Box 790 Columbus, GA 31902 or online at

News Leader 9 is following this story. We'll bring you the latest developments as soon as it becomes available.

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