A 71-year-old Gainesville woman faces a misdemeanor vehicular homicide charge in connection with an April 2007 wreck that claimed the life of a popular Lula teen.
Sarah Gibson was served a citation this week charging her with second-degree homicide by vehicle and failure to yield, Hall County Solicitor-General Larry Baldwin confirmed Friday. Baldwin said he expected a formal accusation to be filed in the case early this week.
Gibson was involved in a wreck on Clarks Bridge Road that killed 18-year-old Charles Scott Caston, a North Hall High School senior. She is charged with turning her Buick LeSabre left off Nopone Road without yielding to a Mercedes-Benz ML320 driven by Caston’s mother. Gibson’s car, after stopping at a stop sign, proceeded left onto Clarks Bridge Road and struck the Castons’ SUV, causing it to flip, according to the Georgia State Patrol.
Caston’s mother and younger siblings also were injured in the wreck. They were riding to an Easter Sunday service when the crash happened.
Caston worked for the local YMCA, was a member of the North Hall track team and planned to attend Young Harris College on an academic scholarship. His death was widely mourned in the North Hall community.
Gibson was not cited immediately after the wreck. She was served the citation by a Georgia State Patrol official on Monday and was not required to be booked into the Hall County jail, Baldwin said.
The charges carry a maximum penalty of a $1,000 fine and 12 months in jail.
Gibson’s lawyer, Robert "Lucky" Chandler, said the arrest "has been tough on her."
"It’s a tragic accident, but I don’t think it was anything more than that," Chandler said. "It was certainly not a criminal act. I don’t believe Ms. Gibson is guilty, and we certainly have approached the case in that manner."
A phone message left for Caston’s parents, Wayne and Debbie Caston, was not immediately returned.
Baldwin said he consulted with the Castons about the pending charges. The prosecutor said it took 16 months to bring charges in the fatal wreck because of a wait for the state patrol to complete its crash reconstruction and then conduct follow-up interviews with emergency medics who were at the scene.
Baldwin said the Castons had concerns that Gibson may have been driving under the influence, but the investigation turned up no evidence that she was impaired during the accident.
No arraignment date has been set in the case.