Habitual Drunk Driver Convicted in Atlanta Hit-And-Run Death

An 11-year-old McNair Middle School student was killed in April 2013.

Gatha Dyer. Credit: Fulton County jail
Gatha Dyer. Credit: Fulton County jail
According to Fulton County District Attorney Paul L. Howard, Jr., a Clayton County man has been found found guilty of homicide by vehicle, DUI and reckless driving in connection with the hit and run death of 11-year-old Patrick Williams, a student at McNair Middle School.

Jurors returned the verdicts late Thursday night against 44-year-old Gatha Dyer.

The incident happened on April 1, 2013 on Boulder Park Drive near the intersection of Brownlee Road in southwest Atlanta.

The victim was walking in the area with several other young children who had already crossed the street. As Williams attempted to cross, the defendant came speeding through the area behind the wheel of 1997 Mitsubishi Eclipse and hit the child. The force of the impact sent the child airborne 53 feet before crashing onto the windshield of the car and then landing on the ground.

Williams was pronounced dead on the scene. After hitting the child, Dyer slowed briefly and then sped away. The passenger in his car testified at trial that he urged the defendant to stop but he refused because he had ‘been drinking.’

Someone who witnessed the crash followed the defendant’s car long enough to capture his license plate and contact police. Dyer was tracked to his home in Clayton County and arrested.

Dyer, who had three prior DUI convictions, was on probation for a 2010 DUI from Cobb County at the time of the hit and run.

He is scheduled to be sentenced on Monday, May 12, 2014 by Fulton County Superior Court Judge Henry Newkirk who presided over the case. The maximum possible sentence is 15 years.

The case was prosecuted by Chief Senior District Attorney Lance Cross with assistance from Senior ADA Ramona Toole and DA Investigator Terence Wise. Officer M. Sutton of the Atlanta Police Department’s Hit and Run Unit led the initial investigation.


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