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Homicide charge in McDaniel Mill Road crash
mcdaniel mill crash site zach ortiz memorial IMG 9864
A February 2012 memorial at the site of the deadly crash on McDaniel Mill Road. - photo by Michelle Kim

The driver in the February crash on McDaniel Mill Road that killed a Covington man was recently charged with vehicular homicide after investigators concluded speed was the main factor.

Rockdale County Sheriff’s Office Special Operations Investigators concluded that Jesse Curbow was driving more than 70 miles per hour when he lost control of the car, according to RCSO investigator Michael Camp. Speed was found to be the main factor, not drugs or alcohol.

Curbow, 27, of Conyers, turned himself in on June 13 to the Rockdale County jail for charges of failure to maintain lane, reckless driving, and vehicular homicide. He was released the same day on a $36,500 bond.

The 2008 Honda Civic was reportedly traveling south on McDaniel Mill Road, approaching Adrian Circle, around 3:50 a.m. on Saturday morning.

As the car came around the curve at a high speed, the driver lost control and slid off the left side of the roadway, striking a culvert and rolling across the yard at 1030 McDaniel Mill before colliding with a tree.

The passenger, 26-year-old Zachary Ortiz, was partially ejected from the car and pronounced deceased on the scene. The driver, Jesse Curbow, was fully ejected and flown by helicopter to Atlanta Medical.

Both men reportedly had their seat belts on and the airbags deployed for both.

That portion of McDaniel Mill Road has been the site of several accidents in the past.

In June 2009, a Rockdale County Sheriff's Office patrol car lost control and slammed into the side of a house at the intersection of McDaniel Mill and Adrian Circle while it was responding to a burglary in progress call. Neither of the elderly residents of the house were hurt and the deputy was treated for non-life threatening injuries.

Cars have also crashed in to that house or yard in 2010, 2008, 2007, and 2004, according to resident Brandy Parker.

Improvements to the road, such as guardrails, were requested to the Ga. Department of Transportation as part of a list of about $170,000 worth of work in 15 projects back in February. According to Rockdale County Transportation Director Miguel Valentine, GDOT is still processing those requests and the McDaniel Mill Road projects remain on the list.

The speed limit on the road is 45 miles per hour. Speed bumps or rumble strips can only be placed on roads of 35 miles per hour or less.