According to a public information release from of the Cobb County Police Department, the department’s Selective Traffic Enforcement Program (S.T.E.P. Unit) is investigating a serious injury collision that occurred recently on the notoriously sharp interchange between I-285 East and I-75 North, within Cobb County.
The incident took place on Sunday, September 17, 2023, at approximately 8:00 a.m.
According to initial reports from the ongoing investigation, a gray 2003 Dodge Ram driven by a 59-year-old Alabama man was traveling eastbound on I-285.
The Dodge Ram was approaching the notorious “bad curve” ramp that leads to I-75 North. At the same time, an unoccupied 2017 Ram 5500 slide-back wrecker and a 2009 Chevrolet Silverado were parked on the right shoulder of the ramp.
The Dodge Ram failed to negotiate the dangerous curve due what investigators described as excessive speed.
As a result, the vehicle began rotating counter-clockwise but later overcorrected, causing a clockwise rotation. While spinning out of control, the Dodge Ram struck 36-year-old Shingnang Andrew and 23-year-old Jovanni Balcazar, who were on the shoulder, before striking the wrecker.
Andrew and Balcazar were taken to Wellstar Kennestone Hospital were taken to Wellstar Kennestone Hospital. Andrew suffered serious injury, while Balcazar is in stable condition.
The driver of the Dodge Ram declined treatment.
[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
We also withhold names in traffic incidents when it is uncertain whether charges will be filed]
The STEP Unit
In articles about fatal or serious injury accidents you’ll often see references to the Cobb County 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.”
The unit is commanded by Lt. Lane Johnson.