LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga - A Collins Hill High Schoolstandout athlete is charged with vehicular homicide in a wreck that took the life of his father.

Amadi Stephens, 17, was driving a 1996 Ford Explorer when he lost control and the vehicle flipped over. The wreck happened on April 20. Bruce Stephens, 51, was thrown through the windshield of the overturning vehicle. Police said he was not wearing a seat belt.

Gwinnett County Police Corporal Jake Smith explained why the teenager was charged. "Because of the fact that he was driving and the death resulted from the accident and was essentially his fault," he said. Amadi Stephens was also charged with driving without a license and improper lane change. Cpl. Smith said he didn't have a license or a permit to drive.

The crash happened on Lawrenceville Suwanee Road just south of Old Norcross Road at around 4:50PM. Police said the teen lost control when the SUV's tires left the road. The vehicle rolled over when the inexperience driver tried to over correct, according to a police incident report.

The incident report also stated that Bruce Stephens, 51, the boy's father, had a suspended license for failure to appear in court on a seat belt violation and for driving on a suspended tag.

Reverend Frank Cox, who is the Collins Hill team Chaplain, said Amadi Stephens has had to deal with a lot of adversity in his young life. "The accident happened 18 months after he lost his mother to cancer," he said.

Reverend Cox said Amadi was driving because his father felt ill and asked him to drive.

Police said they had no choice but to charge Stephens. "The fact that the charge will be made is really dictated by the circumstances of the case," Cpl. Smith said. "So that part, our hands are tied. We're going to enforce the law the way it's meant to be enforced."

The second degree vehicular homicide is a misdemeanor and carries a penalty of up to 12 months in jail, up to a $1,000 fine, or both.

You can follow Kevin on Twitter @kgrowson

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