Fatal Christmas Eve hit-and-run of cyclist on Barrett Parkway

Detail of Cobb County Police Department STEP Unit vehicle in article about fatal accident on I-75Detail of Cobb County Police Department STEP Unit vehicle (photo by Larry Felton Johnson)

[Correction: an earlier version of the headline said “New Years Eve.” A reader on Twitter pointed out the error.]

According to a public information release from Sgt. Wayne Delk of the Cobb County Police Department, the department’s Selective Traffic Enforcement Program (STEP) Unit is investigating a fatal hit-and-run on Barrett Parkway on Christmas Eve shortly after midnight. An arrest has been made in the incident.

The crash occurred near Barrett Parkway’s intersection with Crater Lake Drive in the City of Kennesaw.

[The Cobb County Courier has a policy of withholding or redacting the name of suspects unless and until the person is convicted in a court of law or enters a plea of guilty. All suspects are innocent until proven guilty, and the internet has no effective way of removing reports of arrest if the person is exonerated. We do make exceptions in high-profile cases or charges against public officials where exoneration is likely to be as widely publicized as the initial arrest]

The public information release described the incident as follows:

Per investigators, an adult male was riding a bicycle westbound on Barrett Parkway in the right lane. The bicycle was equipped with a headlight and taillight. A silver 2006 Honda Civic was westbound in the right lane and crashed into the rear of the bicycle; the bicyclist was ejected from the bike.

The bicyclist, 67-year-old Arturo Vela Mantilla of Kennesaw, was transported to Kennestone Hospital where he was pronounced deceased. Next of kin has been notified.

The Honda left the scene without stopping to report the crash or render aid. A witness provided information to responding officers, and the Honda and its driver, 24-year-old [Name redacted by the Cobb County Courier] of Kennesaw, were located at a residence in Kennesaw. He was taken into custody and charged with Improper Passing of Bicyclist, DUI, Hit and Run, and Vehicular Homicide-1st degree.

This investigation remains ongoing, and anyone with information is asked to call the STEP Unit at 770-499-3987.

The STEP Unit

The STEP Unit, which investigates serious or fatal traffic crashes, is one of the Cobb County Police Department’s Special Operations units, and is described on the web page of the Cobb County Police Department as follows:

“The Selective Traffic Enforcement Unit is responsible for investigating all fatal traffic crashes, enforcement of traffic laws in those areas which analysis indicates an elevated amount of crashes. They are also responsible for the administration and execution of the Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program. They also take part in special security details, and investigate crashes involving Department vehicles when requested.”

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