As of Friday, May 31, 2013
© Copyright 2014
Gwinnett Daily Post
SNELLVILLE -- Authorities are still trying to figure out what led 66-year-old Donald Samples to pilot his tractor-trailer across Scenic Highway and into a Lawrenceville hair salon Wednesday morning. An autopsy, though, found no sign of one possibility proposed by many at the scene.
Police said Samples, a Snellville resident, was driving his truck northbound on Scenic Highway when he veered left near Essex Drive. He crossed over the median, southbound lanes and a parking lot before crashing into The Hair Parlor salon and a restaurant called O-Wings.
Samples was dead on the scene. No other injuries were reported.
It was determined Wednesday that Samples died from injuries sustained in the crash, but exactly what caused the incident was unclear. Witnesses and authorities alike surmised that a medical condition -- like a heart attack or seizure -- could've been the trigger.
An autopsy didn't reveal anything like that. A medical examiner's official said that doesn't mean it didn't happen.
"There was no evidence detected at autopsy of a major medical event that could have led to the accident," chief forensic investigator Ted Bailey said.
But: "Not finding a catastrophic natural disease process at autopsy does not exclude natural causes as precipitating the cause. It can only confirm it. It cannot exclude it."
Gwinnett County police spokesman Cpl. Edwin Ritter said no updates were available Thursday. The GCPD accident investigation unit is attempting to determine what led Samples off the roadway; drugs and alcohol are not believed to be factors.
Neither business affected was open at the time of the incident. About 100 feet down the strip mall, a karate school was hosting a summer camp with more than 20 children inside.