COOPER SENTENCED TO 30 YEARS FOR VEHICULAR HOMICIDES
February 14, 2017 (Dalton) Ė Gary Robert Cooper (60), formerly of 2205 Jim Petty Road, Crandall, entered a guilty plea and was sentenced on two counts of vehicular homicide, driving under the influence and driving while license suspended. Cooperís vehicle crossed the center line on Dawnville Road near Renfroe Road around 8 P.M. on Sunday, April 17, 2016 striking a motorcycle and killing Wanda Faye and Wesley Lynn Cummings. Judge William T. Boyett sentenced Cooper pursuant to the Stateís recommendation to serve 15 years in prison followed by 15 years on probation including fines, community service work, alcohol and substance abuse counseling and a condition that he not drive or be in control of any moving vehicle during the term of his sentence. Cooper had four prior DUIís from 1984 to 1999 and two prior felony habitual traffic violator offenses from the same time period. He was represented by Sheri Smith of the Public Defenderís Office. Family members of the victims were accompanied by Heather Brooks, a representative of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) in Georgia.
After the collision, Cooper stated to law enforcement that he was trying to light a cigarette when he crossed the center-line. He smelled of alcohol and later blood testing revealed a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.092 and the presence of clonazepam in his system rendering him unsafe to drive. The case was investigated by the Georgia State Patrolís Specialized Collision Response Team (SCRT) and led by Trooper Rodney Curtis from the Calhoun Post. Mr. & Mrs. Cummings were heading home from Church and were killed instantly in the collision.
Vehicular Homicide based on DUI is a crime severity level VIII according to the State Board of Pardons and Paroles requiring that Cooper serve a between 65% and 90% of the sentence imposed by the Court. Based on his prior history of DUIís, it is believed that he will serve 90% or 13.5 years before being considered for parole although no decision has yet been made by the Board.
Conasauga Judicial Circuit