Cherokee County man found guilty on first-degree vehicular homicide charges in 2020 accident

WOODSTOCK, Ga. — A Woodstock man has been found guilty of his role in a November 2020 fatal car accident that led to the death of a man, the Cherokee County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Patrick Emerson Thomas, 69, was found guilty of homicide by vehicle in the first degree (reckless driving), homicide by vehicle in the first degree (DUI less safe, drugs), reckless driving, and driving under the influence (less safe, drugs).

On Nov. 17, 2020, Thomas reportedly drove his black 2018 Ford Mustang through the Eagle Watch subdivision in the Towne Lake area of Woodstock neighborhood at excessive speeds and crashed into Justiniano “Papi” Pirir-Pirir, 59, killing him on impact.

Pirir-Pirir was part of a landscape crew working at a home on Eagle Watch Drive.

Thomas told law enforcement that he was unable to see the truck because the sun was in his eyes, however after their investigation, evidence showed that the sun was not a factor for other drivers and that Thomas was accelerating at the time he struck and killed the victim.

The Mustang Thomas was driving was traveling at least 13 mph over the posted speed limit at the time of impact, officials say.

Further investigation showed Thomas speeding through the neighborhood and tailgating another driver. Multiple people witnessed the crash, and a home surveillance camera captured the entire incident.

Thomas was not injured but showed signs of being under the influence. He admitted to taking a prescription medication, which is known to cause sleepiness and blurred vision.

His sentencing is set for June 27.

Pirir-Pirir lived in Acworth at the time of his death. He is survived by a wife, children, and grandchildren in Guatemala.

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