Man charged with vehicular homicide after 2 people died in JR Allen crash

Updated: Mar. 15, 2018 at 1:59 PM EDT
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COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) – Columbus police have arrested a man for vehicular homicide following an accident on JR Allen that killed two people on Feb. 14.

Darion Mitchell, 30, is charged in the deaths of Lee Edward Heath, 47, of Phenix City and Anthony Jenson, 32, of Columbus. The pedestrians were hit and killed while a Pop-A-Lock employee, Jenson, was putting gas into Heath's pick-up truck around 5 a.m.

The crash occurred in the northbound lane of I-185 Collector Road at the JR Allen westbound exit ramp.

Mitchell was picked up on outstanding warrants on Tuesday and held in the Muscogee County Jail for a Recorder's Court hearing on Thursday.

Police say data was pulled showing that activity on his cell phone was captured at the time of the accident.

During Recorder's Court, it was revealed that Mitchell provided police with his brother's driver's license and identified himself as his brother. Authorities found who he was after he was fingerprinted by police officers.

Columbus police said a 2011 Toyota Tundra owned by Heath was parked on the east side of I-185 northbound collector road facing north while Heath and Jensen stood on the side of the pickup.

A 2017 Nissan Sentra driven by Mitchell struck the pickup's rear bumper and both pedestrians.

After striking the men, the Nissan continued in a northeast direction across the J.R. Allen Parkway's westbound exit ramp while spinning, police said.

A witness to the crash said he was traveling northbound on I-185 when he observed the stopped pickup truck with its lights on. He said the Nissan struck the driver's side rear bumper on the pickup with its front bumper.

A second witness, traveling on the J.R. Allen westbound exit ramp to the northbound I-185 collector Road, said he saw the pickup with hazards lights flashing. As he drove near the pickup, the witness said the Nissan headlights were doing an unusual movement before the car came across his lane and stopped on the east side of J.R. Allen Parkway's westbound exit ramp.

Mitchell also faces a series of traffic offenses including:

  • One count each of giving false statements
  • Giving false name and information to police
  • Fraudulent use of license or ID card
  • Obstruction of an officer in criminal investigation
  • Driving while license suspended or revoked
  • Distracted driver

The judge is issuing $5,000 for vehicular homicide, $1,000 for giving false statements and various amounts for all other charges.

The case has been bound over to Superior Court.

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