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Driver in double-fatal wreck was 'swerving and accelerating'

SUWANEE -- David Dowdy was headed to a pal's apartment that night, the prospect of a post-work beer and some spaghetti calling his name.

After a four-month investigation, authorities still don't know for sure what made him swerve into the wrong lane of McGinnis Ferry Road along the way, killing himself and a passenger in the Mercedes Benz he collided with.

Dowdy, a 47-year-old Bogart resident, and 79-year-old Jean Strickland of Suwanee were killed in the Nov. 28 wreck near the intersection of McGinnis Ferry and Scales roads. Suwanee police released Friday the long-awaited investigative summary, detailing witness reports and the findings of the medical examiner -- but not providing an exact cause of the crash.

According to witnesses, Dowdy's Pontiac Bonneville was driving westbound on McGinnis Ferry when he cut off one driver near Buford Highway. The car proceeded "swerving and accelerating," one witness said, before it "went over the hill and crossed the lane and struck another car."

Dowdy's car, according to another witness, did not have any lights on when it hit the Mercedes Benz driven by Strickland's husband.

The crash occurred just before 6 p.m.

A friend and co-worker told police that, before leaving work at about 5:30 p.m. that day, Dowdy had said he would "stop and grab some beer and spaghetti for them on his way" to the friend's apartment.

The friend reportedly sent Dowdy a text message at about 6 p.m., but never got a reply.

A shattered jar of spaghetti sauce and a destroyed 12-pack of Bud Light were found in Dowdy's vehicle. The medical examiner, though, found that "none of the drivers showed signs of alcohol impairment or illicit drug use."

Another possible explanation for Dowdy's reportedly erratic driving -- cellphone use -- was neither confirmed nor denied.

"It is unknown what if any part David Dowdy's cellular telephone use at or about the time of the collision played a part in the collision," Officer M.A. Dau wrote in his report. "I tried with the help of the Gwinnett County District Attorney's office to obtain David Dowdy's cellular telephone records, but was unable."

That facet of the investigation was also complicated because Dowdy's phone was never found at the scene.