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A tale of three vehicular homicide cases

By Walter Geiger The wheels of justice often turn slowly and, in the tale of three local vehicular homicide fatalities, they turn more slowly in some cases than others. The March term grand jury took up three such cases last week and returned true bills in two of them. The oldest case, however, was once again carried forward to the next grand jury term, frustrating family members of the victim. In that case, Thomas Norman Anderson Jr., 33, was killed when he was struck by a vehicle while walking along Hwy. 36 West. His body was spotted on the railroad tracks near T.J. Outfitters by passersby early on the morning of March 2, 2012. After an investigation, which included pulling the security tape from the nearby convenience store, authorities arrested Thomas Edward Lenhart III whom they say hit Anderson and left the scene. Lenhart is charged with first degree vehicular homicide, hit and run and failure to maintain lane. He has been free on $25,000 bond for over two years now and his case has not gone before a grand jury. The victim’s father, Thomas Anderson Sr., said the situation is frustrating but he wants to make sure everything is in place for a successful prosecution. ’I don’t hear from the district attorney’s office but they probably don’t know to contact me. I have a way to keep up, though. I understand they are waiting on DNA evidence. I am trying to be patient but there is always that emptiness. I don’t want him (Lenhart) to get off on a technicality,’ the elder Anderson said last week. Anderson had nothing but praise for the quick arrest of Lenhart. ’The swiftness with which they caught him really made me proud. I hope they are doing the best they can but we all would like some closure,’ he added. District attorney Richard Milam confirmed Friday that the crime lab is the holdup. ’The DNA comparison we requested still has not been completed by the crime lab. Sheriff White and I spoke about it yesterday. He is going to have an investigator look into it,’ Milam said. Things moved much faster in two other, similar cases. On June 1, 2013, Vivian Massey, 56, of Forsyth allegedly ran a stop sign at the intersection of Crawford and Johnstonville roads in her Jaguar. Her car collided with a 1994 Ford pickup. The driver of the pickup, Pearl Kemp, 67, died at the scene. Her husband, 68-year-old John Kemp, was lifeflighted to the Macon Medical Center but died shortly thereafter. John Kemp was retired from Southern Rivers Energy. Massey was also seriously injured. Still, the March grand jurors indicted her last week on two counts of second degree vehicular homicide and one count of failure to stop at a stop sign. Less than a month later, on June 29, 2013, 20-year old Gordon State College student Alexandra Noelle Desir was struck and killed on Rose Avenue in Barnesville. Desir was walking to her job at Huddle House from her dorm on campus. Three days later, authorities arrested Bobbie Jo Sumner, 40, who fled the scene and hid the Saturn Vue she was driving at the home of her ex-boyfriend in Griffin. The grand jury also indicted her last week on one count of first degree vehicular homicide and one count of hit and run. The ex-boyfriend, Robert King, was also charged. Those indicted by the grand jury will be arraigned on May 15, 2014.

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