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Family disputes state patrol reports

Convinced teen was not ‘car surfing’

POSTED: June 19, 2013 2:27 p.m.

Family members of the teen who died last week in what has been dubbed a "car surfing" accident are convinced the police report is inaccurate.

"The first two witnesses on the scene that stayed with Anna until the EMTs arrived both have said the first thing the driver kept saying was ‘she fell out the door, she fell out the door,'" said Nancy Hawkins, whose 16-year-old daughter, Anna Gabrielle Hawkins, died from injuries sustained in the June 10 crash.

Authorities said Anna Hawkins was car surfing, a dangerous practice often depicted in movies and on TV that involves standing on the hood or roof of a moving vehicle, when the 16-year-old driver of a Suzuki Grand Vitara lost control in a curve on Couch Road.

Older sister Kati Hawkin said the family is furious with the Georgia State Patrol, which is investigating the wreck, for "immediately saying Anna was car surfing."

She believes, based on talking to witnesses and going over the state patrol's markings that identify where the SUV went off the roadway, her sister was not on top of the vehicle.

"There are just so many unanswered questions, and it's not fair to Anna that these things can be said about her when she is not here to defend herself," she said. "The whole thing is inconclusive."

Trooper First Class Mark Cox said evidence was collected that "places her on the vehicle. We can definitely place her on the vehicle."

In response to the family's belief that the victim fell from inside the SUV, he said, "there is no evidence whatsoever that the door came open."

Cox said he has interviewed one the witnesses the Hawkins family referenced, but determined the man's statements were not credible.

"He said there was a street light that illuminated the roadway that night that allowed him to see, but I went out there Friday night at about the same time and it was pitch dark," he said.

Described as a friend to everyone who went out of her way to make others feel loved, Anna Hawkins was a rising junior at Dawson County High School where she excelled both academically and on the soccer field.

"She was good at everything she did. She could sing, she was great at sports, she was so smart, she read all the time," Kati Hawkins said. "She was very level-headed and very down to earth. The first mistake she ever made was being in that car."

The 16-year-old driver, whose name has not been released but is reportedly from Cumming, has not been charged.

A state patrol spokeswoman on Tuesday said the investigation could take months to complete.

"Our SCRT [specialized collision reconstruction team] will turn their findings over to the district attorney's office once they have completed the investigation," said Georgia State Patrol spokeswoman Robin Stone. "It could be months. We just don't know at this time."

Northeast Judicial Circuit District Attorney Lee Darragh said his office had not received the case report as of Tuesday.

"I will need that and a briefing from investigators before I can make decisions about this case," he said.

Cox urges anyone who may have information about the crash to call state patrol at (770) 205-5400.

The wreck marked the county's fourth traffic fatality of 2013 and the fifth death on Dawson County roads.

 

 

 

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