Friends of a Buford man killed in a motorcycle collision sought to conceal their involvement in an accident that has now been deemed vehicular homicide, authorities said Friday.
Cpl. Jake Smith, spokesman for the Gwinnett County Police Department, said in a news release that five motorists were involved in a collision that killed 24-year-old Brandon Gaylor of Buford. The early morning April 26 accident as the friends were returning from a Flowery Branch restaurant was initially reported as a three-vehicle collision, police said.
Gaylor was reportedly struck by a car, knocking him from his motorcycle, then hit in the road by a second car. But there was more to the story, police said.
“Investigators knew they were not getting a truthful story when they finished their preliminary investigation at the scene,” Smith said. “The physical evidence at the scene did not match the testimony of those involved.”
Three suspects are accused of altering the scene before police arrived, and a total of five suspects are accused in Gaylor’s death.
Jennifer Schoeppler, 25, Andre Daniels, 20, Noelle Gretzinger, 24, and Titis Newsome, 24, have been charged with first-degree vehicular homicide, reckless driving and racing. Gretzinger, Newsome and Gretzinger’s father, Gary Woodruff, 52, were also charged with tampering with evidence.
Police said their investigation indicates the friends, in five vehicles, decided to race down Duncan Creek Road to the victim’s house. As Gaylor slowed at the driveway, he was struck by Schoeppler, driving a Ford Fusion. Gaylor was lying in the road when Gretzinger hit him while driving a Honda Civic. He died at the scene from his injuries, police said.
Daniels struck Gaylor’s motorcycle and Newsome was able to avoid a collision, police said, adding the exact order the cars came through the area is still under investigation.
In the aftermath, investigators said Newsome helped Gretzinger conceal her car, and Schoeppler and Daniels rearranged their cars before police arrived. Woodruff later helped Gretzinger hide the car behind his house, and police have since located and seized the car as evidence.
Investigators said Gaylor was dating Gretzinger, who is additionally charged with hit and run. She was the first driver arrested, with warrants obtained May 6. As the investigation continued, police took out warrants on the four other suspects May 9.
Newsome, of Flowery Branch, and Schoeppler, of Lawrenceville, were arrested at their residences on Monday. Daniels surrendered to the jail on Tuesday after being made aware of the warrant by his attorney. Woodruff turned himself in on Wednesday. All five have been released from jail on bond.
The investigation is continuing.