Gwinnett County police arrested a man in connection with the wreck that killed a 9-year-old girl on Ga. Highway 316 on Thursday morning.

Andrew Elsberry, 28, was following his GPS as he drove his Dodge Ram 3500 in the left lane down Ga. 316 westbound near ROAD at about 10 a.m. His GPS warned him that traffic on Interstate 85 was heavy. To avoid the traffic, the GPS suggested he get off at the next exit, instead.

That meant Elsberry had to get all the way into the right lane. So he looked over his shoulder to see whether he could merge. When he looked forward again, he noticed that the Dodge Caravan in front of him was stopping.

“(Elsberry) stated he wasn’t able to react in time and struck the rear of (the Caravan),” according to a Gwinnett County police accident report.

The force of the crash pushed the Caravan into a Toyota Carolla that was slowing down in front of it. To add to the confusion, the driver of a fourth car, a Nissan Sentra, was driving behind Elsberry’s car. She said she didn’t seen any brake lights come on when Elsberry suddenly hit the Dodge Caravan and came to a stop. The Sentra crashed into the trailer Elsberry had been pulling behind him.

Four people complained of injuries in the wake of the crash. The driver of both the Corolla and the Sentra refused medical treatment. The driver of the Caravan was taken to Gwinnett Medical Center. The Caravan’s passenger, Ceceilia Powell, 9, also went to Gwinnett Medical. She’d been sitting in the third-row seats in the back of the van and was hit the hardest in the accident. Powell sustained life-threatening injuries and later died in the hospital.

Police arrested Elsberry on the scene. He’s been charged with following too closely and homicide by vehicle in the second degree.

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UGA class of 2014 grad working at the Daily Post since November 2016.

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