WARE COUNTY, Ga. - A 45-year-old Ware County man has been charged with felony murder in his 20-year-old son's death.
Deputies for the Ware County Sheriff's Office said they arrested Michael Carter on murder and aggravated assault charges on Tuesday at a home in Nicholls in Coffee County.
Deputies said Carter ran down his son, Thomas Matthew "Matt" Carter, with a pickup truck while his son was driving another pickup truck and killed him.
Deputies said they were called to a crash on Old Nicholls Highway at about 9 p.m. April 5.
When they arrived, they saw a 1981 Chevrolet pickup truck that had left the highway and rolled several times before striking and breaking a power pole, deputies said.
Deputies said Matt Carter, the driver, was ejected from the truck and died at the scene.
Deputies said they questioned Michael Carter, who told them he had driven by the scene and recognized his son's demolished vehicle in the ditch. He said he did not stop and instead drove to a home down the road from the scene and asked the residents there to call 911, deputies said.
Carter told a deputy that he then drove about six miles to his house in Coffee County to tell his wife that their son had been in a wreck, according to deputies. Carter told deputies he was not present when his son wrecked.
However, a witness told the deputy that Matt Carter and a passenger in his truck were seen being chased in Coffee County by his father. Deputies said the passenger, whose identity was not released, was later found by detectives in Coffee County and was taken to Satilla Regional Medical Center with injuries.
When questioned by detectives, the passenger told them he was riding as a passenger in Matt Carter's truck when they passed Michael Carter on a dirt road, deputies said. The passenger said Michael Carter turned his vehicle around and began chasing them and then struck their truck with his vehicle several times, deputies said.
The passenger said Michael Carter continued to chase them as they crossed into Ware County, and the vehicles turned off the dirt road onto Old Nicholls Highway when Michael Carter passed their vehicle and then blocked the roadway trying to stop them, deputies said.
The passenger said Matt Carter drove around his father's truck and continued on, and he said Matt Carter was trying to use his cellphone to call for help when Michael Carter rammed their vehicle from behind, causing Matt Carter to lose control of his truck, which then left the roadway and rolled several times before striking the power pole, deputies said.
The passenger told deputies he saw Michael Carter stop his vehicle in the roadway after the collision, and when Michael Carter did not get out of his vehicle and come to their aid, the passenger crawled out of the wrecked truck and ran into the woods, deputies said. They said the passenger was picked up by a civilian later in the morning while walking along the highway and was taken to a location where he called the Ware County Sheriff's Office.
On April 6, two Ware County detectives went to Michael Carter's home in Coffee County, where they saw his 2010 Chevrolet Silverado with noticeable damage to the vehicle, deputies said. The detectives seized the vehicle and had it taken to the Ware County Sheriff's Office impound lot. Investigators said they searched them for evidence.
"After examining the evidence obtained through investigation from the victim's and suspect's vehicles, the witness and suspect statements and the evidence collected at the scene, it is now apparent that this is not a single motor vehicle accident," Ware County Sheriff Randy Royal said in a news release.
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