Crash suspect indicted
Accused driver, 21, faces extra counts

LAWRENCEVILLE - A Gwinnett grand jury has indicted Carmon "Cody" Rhoden, the Winder motorist accused of killing four people while driving wildly on Interstate 85 in March, on more charges than he initially faced.

Rhoden was indicted on 11 counts Thursday for allegedly triggering a four-fatality crash on March 31 that killed three members of the same Lawrenceville family, the deadliest single crash ever on I-85 in Gwinnett, officials have said. He was arrested a day after the crash on 10 charges.

Rhoden, who turned 21 years old in jail on May 18, faces four counts each of vehicular homicide and failure to stop or return to the scene of an accident, one for each person who died, according to the indictment.

The grand jury handed up two additional counts of serious injury by vehicle, alleging Rhoden threaded traffic in "a reckless manner" and caused Demetrius Randle - father of two dead and grandfather of one - to lose the use of his legs.

In an earlier court hearing, a Gwinnett police investigator said Rhoden had been drinking at an Atlanta Braves' game and sped home in excess of 100 mph when he caused the chain-reaction crash. Police said he later ditched his damaged, red Acura RSX at a nearby hotel before turning himself in the next day.

Rhoden's family and attorney have maintained his innocence, claiming his car was struck by the SUV carrying the family home from Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta to Lawrenceville.

Rhoden most recently appeared in court May 30, when Superior Court Judge Dawson Jackson denied him bond, said Assistant District Attorney David Fife on Tuesday.

But Rhoden hasn't been entirely sequestered since his arrest three months ago.

On June 23, he was allowed a six-hour reprieve from jail to attend a funeral for his grandfather.

Stacey Bourbonnais, Sheriff's Department spokeswoman, said the department routinely fields requests from family members to allow inmates to attend the funerals of close family. Department policy allows officials to evaluate those requests on a case-by-case basis, she said.

"We try to accommodate (families) unless there is a high-security risk or unusual circumstance," Bourbonnais said. "In all cases, off-duty deputies are used to guard the inmate and the family pays for the costs of having those off-duty deputies there."

Added Sheriff Butch Conway, "It's not for the inmate's benefit, it's for the family's benefit."