LAWRENCEVILLE — A Berkmar High School student was killed Wednesday morning while trying to cross a busy highway on foot.
Dakota Waters, 17, was attempting to walk across Lawrenceville Highway near James Road at about 7:25 a.m. Wednesday when he was struck by a car. The junior at Berkmar High School was rushed to Gwinnett Medical Center in critical condition, but later passed away “as a result of the injuries sustained in the collision,” Ritter said.
Investigators have determined that Waters was crossing the road when a 2007 Land Rover, driven by a 49-year-old Stone Mountain resident Sharon Mitchell-Golden, entered the northbound center lane to turn onto James Road.
“The pedestrian was crossing the highway outside of a crosswalk and was standing in the center turn lane as the Land Rover entered the center lane,” Ritter said. “The driver was unable to stop and struck the pedestrian.”
Mitchell-Golden was charged with turn lane violation — defined as driving more than 300 feet in the center turn lane — and second-degree vehicular homicide, a misdemeanor. She turned herself in Thursday morning, Ritter said.
While speed and alcohol were not considered to be contributing factors, rainy and low lit weather conditions were, authorities said.
On Thursday, a makeshift cross adorned with rain-soaked teddy bears, a balloon and flowers sat near the spot where Waters was killed. The accident scene was about two miles from his home on Paden Drive.
Gwinnett County Public Schools spokesman Jorge Quintana confirmed that Wednesday was a normal school day at Berkmar, and that classes would have begun at 7:05 a.m. It was unclear why Waters was not in school when he was struck.
Police said they had no information about Waters’ “intended destination.”
Memorial arrangements are being made and will be announced by Tim Stewart Funeral Home in Lawrenceville. Friends and family are encouraged to sign the online guestbook at www.stewartfh.com.