Truck driver faces charges for meth possession and open container after fatal pileup on Georgia 400

September 19, 2022
1 min read

A truck driver faces new charges after a collision Friday on Ga. 400.

On Monday, September 19, 2022, the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office executed a search warrant on the Freightliner tractor trailer that sheriff’s officials say caused a multi-car pileup on Ga. 400 on Friday.

As a result of the search, additional warrants were obtained and executed. The additional charges against the driver, Charles Wilkins, include possession of methamphetamine, possession of drug related objects and open container of alcohol.

On Sept. 16, at about 8:30 p.m., the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office and Fire Department were dispatched to Ga. 400 and State Road 369 regarding a multi-vehicle collision involving a tractor trailer. 

A Nissan Rogue, Jeep Cherokee, Honda Civic and Cadillac CTS were all in the left Northbound Lane of Ga. 400 stopped or stopping for traffic. A Kia Sorento was in the right Southbound Lane of Ga. 400 and had proceeded south through the intersection after receiving a green traffic signal.

According to the Sheriff’s office, a loaded Freightliner tractor trailer, operated by 61-year-old Charles Wilkins of Cumming, was traveling in the left Northbound Lane of Ga. 400, approaching stopped traffic at an unreasonable speed for traffic conditions and construction zone.  

“The Freightliner failed to stop and struck the rear of the Nissan at highway speeds, causing a chain reaction,” said Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Stacie Miller. “The Nissan and the Freightliner crossed over the center median into the Southbound Lanes. The Freightliner struck the Kia at the driver’s side front door.”

The driver of the Kia, 65-year-old James Wright of Cumming was pronounced dead at the scene by fire personnel.

All other drivers and passengers, including Wilkins, were transported to local hospitals with what were later learned to be non-life-threatening injuries. Multiple other vehicles were damaged by flying debris, but no additional injuries were reported.

The roadway was closed in both directions for over five hours due to the investigation and extensive clean up.

Upon discharge from the emergency room, Wilkins was taken into custody and transported to the Forsyth County Jail. In addition to the new charges, he is also charged with homicide by vehicle 1st degree, reckless driving, too fast for conditions and following too close. 

He is being held on no bond.

⚠️ Reminder: Crime articles contain only charges and information from police reports and law enforcement statements. Suspects and defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

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