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PTC youth falls from truck, then is run over by car

UPDATED print version (Tuesday, May 25, 2010) —Twenty-year-old Peachtree City resident Geofrey Griffith was killed late Saturday night when he fell out of the bed of a pickup truck and was subsequently struck by another vehicle along Ga. Highway 34 outside Newnan.

Coweta County Sheriff’s Traffic Lt. John LaChance said a Coweta deputy was flagged down by a motorist at 2:19 a.m. where Griffith’s body was found on the roadway on the eastbound side of Hwy. 34 near the Summit Healthplex area.

The incident was complicated by the fact that Griffith was struck by a 2005-2010 Chrysler 300 or Challenger vehicle after falling out of the pick-up truck, LaChance said. The vehicle was identified as a Chrysler by the debris left at the scene, the officer said.

LaChance said it is likely that the driver of the Chrysler, given the lack of visibility due to darkness, thought he or she had struck a dead deer or some other animal. No charges are anticipated at this time for the driver of the Chrysler, LaChance said, adding that the person is asked to contact him at 770-254-8922 or 770-253-1502.

LaChance said Griffith and another passenger had been riding in the bed of the pick-up truck with 20-year-old Decatur resident David Witucki, formerly of Peachtree City, behind the wheel.

Griffith had apparently been asleep and woke up and fell out of the vehicle after the three had apparently left a party in Newnan, LaChance said. Witucki knew the two passengers were in the bed of the truck and was headed to Griffith’s residence in Peachtree City, LaChance said.

LaChance said there is no current charge against Witucki relating to Griffith’s death since there was no swerving or braking at the scene and, consequently, it does not appear that Griffith was thrown from the truck.

Witucki was, however, charged with driving under the influence. LaChance and Peachtree City officers were at Griffith’s home to notify his family when Witucki arrived to drop off his friend, apparently unaware of what had happened. LaChance said he conducted a field sobriety test and arrested Witucki when he tested positive.

LaChance said investigators are currently waiting on Griffith’s autopsy report and a toxicology report.

LaChance thanked Peachtree City Police, Lt. Jennifer Michel and Bravo Team for their assistance in the incident.

LaChance said passengers under age 18 are not permitted to ride in the bed of a pick-up. Those 18 and older are permitted as long as the truck is not traveling on an interstate. The law changes effective July 1 when no one will be permitted to ride in the bed of a truck.

Funeral services are planned for Thursday in Peachtree City.

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