Woman charged in fatal scooter wreck

NORCROSS -- A local woman has been charged in a two-vehicle wreck involving a motorized scooter that took the life of a 72-year-old Norcross man, according to police.

Lorena Gina Cortez-Novoa, 46, was charged with one count of failure to obey a traffic signal and one count of second degree vehicular homicide in connection with a wreck June 16 at the intersection of Beaver Ruin and Indian Trail roads.

The incident, which claimed the life of community leader James Scarbrough, occurred when the scooter he was driving was allegedly struck by Cortez-Novoa's vehicle, said Police Capt. Brian Harr.

After warrants were issued, Harr said that Cortez-Novoa was arrested Tuesday. "Mrs. Novoa turned herself in to officers at the Norcross Police Department, where she was briefly interviewed and then transported to the Gwinnett County Detention Center," Harr said.

Cortez-Novoa's bond was set at $2,600.

According to Harr, Cortez-Novoa was driving her vehicle eastbound when she failed to stop at a traffic light.

Community members mourned the loss of Scarbrough, a Department of Water Resources employee.

After retiring from the federal Environmental Protection Agency, Scarbrough worked as director of planning, permitting and stormwater before beginning work part-time several years ago as an executive technical assistant. He was the county's point person on the so-called water wars between Georgia, Alabama and Florida.

Scarbrough, a resident of Norcross's historic area, was an active member of the Norcross Planning and Zoning Appeals Board and Sustainable Norcross Commission. He commonly sat in on city meetings.