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Man charged in fiery fatal crash on I-985
0226Villanel Arroyo
Villanel Arroyo

A Gainesville man has been charged in connection with a fiery Sunday morning crash on Interstate 985 that left two Flowery Branch men dead.

Villanel Arroyo, 18, was arrested at his Gainesville home Thursday on two counts of vehicular homicide, charged with the deaths of 23-year-old Paul Keys III and his 19-year-old brother Shawn Keys, Gwinnett Police spokesman Brian Kelly said.

Authorities believe both cars were speeding along I-985 just south of the Hall County line when the Honda CRX driven by Paul Keys left the road and crashed into the wood line in the southbound shoulder at about 1:50 a.m. Sunday. Both brothers died at the scene. When an officer responded to the scene, their car was engulfed in flames.

Police are still unsure if Keys and Arroyo were racing, but said Arroyo “engaged in aggressive and reckless driving” just prior to the crash. Witnesses said Arroyo’s Chevrolet pickup truck was in front of the Honda at the time of the crash, according to police.

“It’s hard to say what their state of mind was at the time,” Kelly said.

Arroyo is believed to have continued driving after the Honda crashed.

Authorities on Wednesday asked the public for information about a Hispanic male seen driving a pickup at the time of the crash. Police speculated that the two drivers may have been racing.

Kelly said Arroyo confided in friends about the crash, and those friends notified police.

Police still are investigating whether mechanical failure led to the crash or if the driver of the Honda lost control.

Arroyo, who is also charged with reckless driving and aggressive driving, is being held in the Gwinnett County Jail with bond set at $102,000.

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