Teen, parents charged in wreck that killed 17-year-old


Santiago Rivas-Garcia

LILBURN — A Lilburn teen and his parents are facing criminal charges of various severity after the single-car crash that claimed the life of 17-year-old Paul Anderson-Strickland.

Santiago Rivas-Garcia and Maria Elena Rodriguez-Martinez, both 38, were arrested Wednesday and charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor and permitting a minor to drive. Rodriguez-Martinez has since been released on $1,300 bond; Rivas-Garcia is being held for immigration officials.

Their 16-year-old son has been charged with felony vehicular homicide, speeding, racing and reckless driving.

According to Gwinnett County police, the Lilburn couple allowed their son — who has only a learner’s permit — to drive a 2002 Ford Explorer early Sunday morning. At about 5 a.m., that Explorer, which was also carrying three teenage passengers and the driver’s 12-year-old brother, was moving down Beaver Ruin Road in Norcross when the driver lost control and smashed into the median near Global Court.

The car rolled several times and Anderson-Strickland, a student at Meadowcreek High School, was ejected. He later died at Gwinnett Medical Center.

“All other passengers received visible injuries and were transported to various hospitals,” an incident report stated.

Incident reports made no mention of drugs or alcohol being factors.

Rivas-Garcia and Rodriguez-Martinez are accused of “knowingly and willfully aid(ing) a minor in committing a delinquent act” by allowing their son to drive and break curfew. According to a police report, the couple let their son drive “because he had a job.”

A learner’s permit requires a licensed driver over 21 years old to ride along.

Memorial services will be held for Anderson-Strickland at 1 p.m. Saturday at the Lilburn chapel of Bill Head Funeral Home. According to the teen’s obituary, he was a “charismatic and energetic young man” who loved dancing, music, fashion and his friends.

“He often spoke of dreams to become a famous computer graphic designer so he could make his own videos one day,” the obituary said.


mickey 2 years, 3 months ago

Where were they all going at 5:00 am?


kevin 2 years, 3 months ago

Another example of stupidity and lawlessness allowed by the Feds for not enforcing immigration laws. Blame both parties for this.


DB 2 years, 3 months ago

This is only the tip of a titanic-class iceburg. All due to zero respect for law as condoned by our governing and business class.


FordGalaxy 2 years, 3 months ago

Just out of curiosity, DB, but what does business have to do with this? What I see is two adults who decided that a 16-year-old with a learner's permit was responsible enough to go out with a group of teenagers, for some reason on a Sunday morning at 5am. They say he had a job, but that doesn't excuse them letting him drive with just a learner's permit. His "friends" made an unfortunate choice to get in the car with him. If they were anything like me and my friends when we were teenagers, they were probably acting stupid (it's a wonder we even survived our teenage years, but that's another story for another day). Something went wrong and the car crashed, ejecting and killing a passenger.

Outside of the parents showing their apathy by stating he had ajob, so we let him drive even though it's against the law, there was no mention of a "business class." Why try to tie them together?


SurelyNot 2 years, 3 months ago

I feel total sympathy for everyone involved in this, especially the family of the deceased teen. There was a time in GC when this was almost a weekly occurance, back in the 80s and 90s. DB, your comment is ridiculous. The parents of the boy who went driving, may or may not have given permission. Teens will be teens. They do stupid things and the price is sometimes the ultimate. The driver will pay the price and so will his parents and their lives are changed as that of the passenger's family. Accidents and tragedies happen and they are just that: tragedies. God give peace to all of them. And I do not agree the driver's parents were apathetic. You do not know the way a question was posed to them. You know in your good mind they are torturing themselves.


R 2 years, 2 months ago

Sorry If the border laws had been enforced this set of players WOULDN'T have been here to create/contribute to the conditions outlined above.

It may not be PC, but its cold hard fact that can't be brushed aside - no matter how big a broom or stroke you try to use.


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