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Habitual drunk driver convicted of killing 11-year-old in hit and run

Habitual drunk driver Gatha Maurice Dyer, 44, of Jonesboro, was convicted of vehicular homicide in the hit-and-run death of a 11-year-old boy, prosecutors said.
Habitual drunk driver Gatha Maurice Dyer, 44, of Jonesboro, was convicted of vehicular homicide in the hit-and-run death of a 11-year-old boy, prosecutors said.Fulton County Jail

A habitual drunk driver, who was still on probation for his last DUI struck and killed an 11-year-old boy, then fled the scene because he didn’t want to be caught drinking and driving.

Now Gatha Dyer, 44, faces a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison for vehicular homicide, DUI and reckless driving in the death of Patrick Williams, the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office announced Friday. He was convicted by a jury late Thursday, prosecutors said.

The incident happened on April 1, 2013 on Boulder Park Drive near the intersection of Brownlee Road in southwest Atlanta, the district attorney’s spokeswoman Yvette Jones said.

At that time the McNair Middle School student was walking in the area with several other young children who had already crossed the street, Jones said. As Patrick attempted to cross, a driver came speeding through the area in a 1997 Mitsubishi Eclipse and hit the child.

The force of the impact sent the child 53 feet into the air before he came crashing onto the windshield of the car and then landing on the ground, Jones said. He was pronounced dead on the scene.

After hitting the boy, Dyer slowed briefly and then sped away, Jones said. The passenger in his car testified at trial that he urged the defendant to stop but he refused because he had ‘been drinking,’ she said.

But a Good Samaritan who witnessed the crash followed the Dyer’s car long enough to capture his license plate and contact police, Jones said. Dyer was tracked to his home in Clayton County and arrested.

Dyer, who had three prior DUI convictions, was on probation for a 2010 DUI from Cobb County at the time of the hit and run, Jones said. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Monday.