LAWRENCEVILLE - Whitney Randle joined Voices of Faith Baptist Church in Stone Mountain on April 8, 2007. Exactly one year later, her funeral will proceed under the same church roof.
Bishop Gary Hawkins Sr. will officiate the funeral for Randle, her infant child and her 14-year-old brother on Tuesday. He said God doesn't dabble in coincidences. Dying - and the day on which three members of the same Lawrenceville family will be laid to rest - is meaningful, he said.
"I look at the number eight as a number of new beginnings," Hawkins said.
In 14 years as bishop of the 12,000-congregation church, Hawkins has never officiated a funeral involving such multitudinous loss. He called the family "wonderful, beautiful" and said the funeral date was the idea of Falleen Randle, mother of two dead and grandmother to one.
"As a pastor, you serve in the light, you serve in the darkness," Hawkins said. "Every pastor would love to serve in a congregation without death."
Funeral services for the Randle family - Whitney, her infant son Kayden and Peachtree Ridge High School freshman Alexander, 14 - will be held at 1 p.m. Tuesday, officials said Friday. The deceased will be cremated.
The Monday night crash on Interstate 85 near Norcross that claimed the Randles also killed Mark Anthony Gay - the Lawrenceville man hired to drive them home from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.
Gay's funeral is scheduled for 2 p.m. today in the southwest Georgia town of Cuthbert, where he'll be buried at Piney Grove Cemetery. His brother and sister live in nearby Shellman, a funeral representative said.
Officials have called the crash the single deadliest accident ever on I-85 in Gwinnett.
Although five others were injured, only Demetrius Randle - the father of two killed and grandfather of one - remains hospitalized. He was listed in critical condition Friday at Gwinnett Medical Center.
Police say a preliminary accident diagram released Thursday shows that Carmon Cody Rhoden, 20, of Gainesville, caused the accident while driving erratically in his red Acura RSX. Rhoden's attorney and his family argue he was obeying traffic laws as he drove home from the Atlanta Braves' home opener.
A friend traveling with Rhoden told the suspect's attorney he was not speeding Monday night. Attorney Jeffrey Sliz met Wednesday with the friend, Joshua Kitchens, who said another car may have triggered the five-vehicle wreck.
Sliz met with Kitchens at the Floyd County Jail, where Kitchens has been since Tuesday on a probation violation related to a 2005 credit card fraud case in Barrow County. Kitchens and Rhoden work at a Gainesville tire shop owned by Rhoden's family.
Sliz said Kitchens told him Rhoden had no idea the crash had occurred when they pulled off the highway and called Rhoden's father to pick them up.
Rhoden allegedly fled the crash scene and dumped his battered Acura at a nearby hotel. He turned himself in a day after the crash when police secured warrants for his arrest. He's expected to appear in court Friday for a probable cause hearing.
Rhoden's attorney could petition a judge for bond before the hearing.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.