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Dawson County woman accused of vehicular homicide, DUIs after fatal July wreck

A local woman has been charged following an investigation into a fatal July car crash in southern Dawson County near Lake Lanier. 

Sarah Spinella Caudell, 37, of Dawsonville, was arrested by the Dawson County Sheriff’s Office on Aug. 26 and charged with two felony counts of first-degree homicide by vehicle; two charges each for alcohol-related DUI less safe and DUI .08 grams. 

Caudell also received citations for not wearing a seat belt and failing to maintain lane.

Douglas Gifford, 57, of Dawsonville, died from injuries sustained during the July 9 car crash. 

This story continues below. 

Georgia State Patrol’s Specialized Collision Reconstruction Team B (SCRTB) is assisting with the crash investigation. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s crime lab also performed blood alcohol content analysis on samples taken from Caudell. 

DCSO warrants for the homicide by vehicle counts accused Caudell of causing Gifford’s death. The warrants also stated GBI test results showing she had a blood alcohol content of .231, almost triple the legal limit of .08 for adults 21 or older to consume alcohol. 

Preliminary crash results from GSP stated that Caudell was driving Gifford’s SUV west on War Hill Park Road when she failed to maintain her lane while maneuvering a curve. 

In her comments to GSP, Caudell said she swerved to miss a stump before the vehicle ran off the road and overturned and added that that was all she remembered. 

The vehicle then traveled off of the roadway to the right and went up an embankment, striking a tree, according to the preliminary report. 

The SUV overturned to the left, causing both the driver and Gifford to be ejected, before it came to a final uncontrolled rest in the middle of the roadway on its roof facing north, the report stated. 

Both Caudell and Gifford were taken to an area hospital. Gifford succumbed to his injuries on July 11.

Two days after her Aug. 26 arrest, Caudell was released on a $44,200 bond.

DCN will update this story when more information is available.