Peyton James Underwood, 50, of Paulding County, was working well into the early morning on Saturday, Feb. 22, when he was reportedly struck by Kenneth Chitwood, 48, of Acworth. According to police reports, Underwood was out placing signs for his business, Right Direction Sign company, off of Mars Hill Road, when he was hit by a moving car just a little after 12:40 a.m.
Underwood was taken to Wellstar Kennestone Hospital in critical condition, but died shortly after. Chitwood was not injured, but police detected the scent of alcohol on him. In addition, the arrest warrant states that Underwood was stumbling and needed assistance from an officer to keep from falling. Consequently, he was arrested and charged with failure to maintain lanes, vehicular homicide, and driving under the influence of alcohol.
Underwood, a strong presence in his community, coached Little League and volunteered as an umpire when he wasn't working at his real estate sign business. Friends and family, shocked at the unexpected tragedy, opened an online donation page for his wife and their four children, to help pay for funeral expenses. Donations are also being accepted at Wells Fargo Bank, under the “J. Peyton Underwood Memorial Fund."
Underwood's visitation will be held this Wednesday, from 2 to 4 p.m. and again at 6 to 8 p.m. at Kennesaw's Winkenhofer Pine Ridge Funeral Home. The funeral is scheduled the following day at 2 p.m. at the funeral home.
Chitwood remains in the Cobb County jail with no bond.