A driver faces multiple charges weeks after a crash on Interstate 85 that killed five people, police in Georgia say.
Emanuel Rene Esfahani, 20, of Lawrenceville turned himself in Tuesday, Sept. 26, and was booked on five counts of vehicular homicide, according to the Gwinnett County Police Department.
Esfahani is also charged with reckless driving, racing, speeding, unsafe lane change and seat belt required, police said.
Authorities responded Sept. 4 on the State Route 316 ramp to I-85 in Duluth after 911 calls about a car that had gone over the ramp wall. Five people, three of whom were students at Lakeside High School, died at the scene.
Authorities identified them as:
Katie Gaitan Miranda, 17, of Atlanta
Ashley Gaitan, 16, of Atlanta
Coral Lorenzo, 17, of Atlanta
Hung Nguyen, 18, of Lawrenceville
Abner Santana, 19, of Suwanee
“Our hearts go out to the family and friends of the students affected during this challenging period,” Principal Susan M. Stoddard said in a statement earlier this month. “We can only imagine the enormous pain and sorrow they are going through, and we are here to support and uplift them in any way we can.”
Investigators believe Esfahani and Nyuyen were racing before the fatal crash. Esfahani was driving an Infiniti G35, and Nguyen was driving a Toyota Tacoma with five others in the truck, according to a news release.
Both were going more than 100 mph on the exit ramp when they approached a car traveling at a slower speed, police said. “The Tacoma passed on the left, and the Infiniti passed on the right,” in the emergency lane, according to the release.
That’s when the Infiniti swerved to avoid hitting a box truck that was stopped on the shoulder, the release said. The car veered across multiple lanes and hit the Tacoma, police said.
The Tacoma spun and rolled across the highway before hitting a retaining wall, according to the release.
“The excess speed caused it to carry over the wall and fall to the ramp 37 feet below,” police said.
At least three others were hurt in the crash, though police didn’t provide an update on their conditions.
Esfahani remained in jail on a $6,500 bond as of Sept. 27, online records show.
Duluth is about 30 miles northeast of downtown Atlanta.