LAWRENCEVILLE - A teenager from Stone Mountain and an avid motorcyclist from Hall County died in separate motor vehicle accidents on Sunday.
The first fatal accident was probably caused by heavy rains, according to police. Authorities said 17-year-old Julian Carter of Stone Mountain was traveling east on Athens Highway (U.S. Highway 78) near Langley Road in Loganville at 9:18 a.m. when he lost control of his 1997 Honda Accord. The vehicle drifted into oncoming traffic, causing a four-vehicle collision.
Maria Gomez, 47, of Lawrenceville was driving a 2005 Suzuki sport utility vehicle west when Carter's vehicle came into her lane and struck her SUV head-on. Carter died at the scene, said Cpl. Darren Moloney, spokesman for the Gwinnett County Police Department.
Gomez was transported to Gwinnett Medical Center with injuries that were not life threatening, Moloney said.
After the initial collision, the two vehicles also reportedly crashed with a 2002 Ford Crown Victoria that was heading west on U.S. 78. A 2002 Honda CRV traveling west was also damaged by flying debris. Neither of those drivers or their passengers were seriously injured, Moloney said.
Attempts to obtain contact information for Carter's family on Monday were unsuccessful because the accident report was not yet available.
Later on Sunday, a Flowery Branch man was driving a 2006 Harley-Davidson FLXHI south on Interstate 985 near Interstate 85 in Buford about 9:30 p.m. when his motorcycle ran off the shoulder of the road, striking several roadside objects.
Edward Alton Roper, 48, was pronounced dead at the scene.
"At this time, investigators are not speculating as to why the driver left the roadway," Moloney said.
Roper was born and raised in the Duluth area of Gwinnett County, and he is survived by two brothers, two sisters, a wife, three children, two stepchildren and three grandchildren, said his sister Linda Hulsey.
He was a heavy equipment operator for TCB Construction in Marietta, and he loved to ride Harley-Davidson motorcycles. Roper was a registered member of the Harley Owners Group, a national organization, Hulsey said.
"He was a fun-loving guy, and he loved people," Hulsey said.
"He was like a free spirit. He always when he came in a room was the one that got everybody upbeat. He loved his kids and he loved riding a motorcycle."
There have been 32 fatal wrecks in Gwinnett County in 2006.
Last year, there were 86 motor vehicle fatalities. The record for fatal wrecks was set in 2004, when 88 people were killed on Gwinnett County roadways.