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Driver charged in deadly Acworth DUI crash

6:48 AM, Feb 24, 2014   |    comments
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ACWORTH, Ga. -- An Acworth man was arrested after allegedly causing an accident that took the life of another driver.

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It happened Saturday at around 12:40 a.m. on Mars Hill Road near Cobb Parkway.

Kenneth Chitwood, 48, was driving under the influence when he swerved out of his lane and hit a Ford F-150 pulling a single axle cargo trailer, according to police.

The F-150 was stopped in a lane transition area while its driver, 50-year-old James "Peyton" Underwood, placed advertising signs along the side of the road.

Cobb County Police Officer Mike Bowman said Underwood was standing next to his truck at the time of the accident. He was hit and knocked to the ground by Chitwood's Chevrolet Silverado.

Underwood was taken to WellStar Kennestone Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Chitwood was arrested and charged with vehicular homicide, DUI and failure to maintain lane. He is being held without bond in the Cobb County Adult Detention Center. Police said Chitwood was not injured in the crash.

'HE WAS SO WELL-KNOWN AND LOVED IN THIS COMMUNITY' 

Peyton Underwood's loved ones remember the 50 year old as the consummate family man. They said they're still reeling from the father of four's death.

"I can honestly say they're devastated. There's also a lot of anger behind the sadness. But first, we're trying to grieve for Peyton," said a family friend.

Underwood's family and friends say they're struggling to make sense and recover from this largely preventable tragedy.

"It happens in a split second. This man had just gotten into his car and gone through an intersection and killed a dad, a father, a loved one," the family friend said.

Friends say the Underwood family is struggling financially and are establishing a memorial fund at SunTrust Bank for funeral costs.

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