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Alcohol and drugs suspected ‘contributing factor’ in crash that killed Buford woman, authorities say
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Gainesville Police are using newly installed burn lights Friday, March 6, 2020, on their cruisers to increase their visibility. - photo by Scott Rogers

Investigators say drugs and alcohol are suspected factors in the Thursday, Aug. 27, single-vehicle crash in South Hall that killed the driver and seriously injured the passenger, according to Georgia State Patrol.  

An accident report also shows the passenger told authorities the two had been drinking alcoholic beverages during the day and that police found unopened alcohol bottles, prescription medication and “illegal narcotics” in the vehicle.  

It wasn't immediately clear what kinds of drugs were found or in what quantity. Authorities also did not say whether the driver had drugs or alcohol in her system at the time of the crash.  

Julie O’Heir, 35, of Snellville, was the front-seat passenger who was hospitalized with serious injuries, GSP Cpl. Josh Hedden wrote in an email on Tuesday. Hospital and state patrol officials did not immediately provide an update on O’Heir’s condition. 

The driver, Mary Amber Moore, 39, of Buford, died Saturday, Aug. 29, at Northeast Georgia Medical Center from injuries sustained in the crash on Blackjack Road two days earlier, according to GSP. 

O'Heir was interviewed Friday, Aug. 28, at the hospital, telling officers she didn’t know what caused Moore to crash, according to the accident report. 

In addition to the prescriptions and narcotics found in Moore’s purse, three unopened 50 mL bottles of peach Smirnoff vodka and an unopened liter of Grey Goose vodka were found inside the car, authorities say.  

O’Heir said in her interview with police that she and Moore had been drinking alcoholic beverages at a pool during the day but that she didn’t know whether Moore had taken any medications or illegal drugs before the crash, the report says. 

Hall County Coroner Marion Merck said the medical examiner still had the case, and toxicology information would likely take 14 to 16 weeks. 

Police say Moore was driving on a curve eastbound on Blackjack Road before going off the roadway and striking a utility pole. The car rotated and overturned before striking a mailbox. Both women were ejected and pinned under the car, the report shows. 

This story will be updated. 

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