CLEVELAND, Ga. – A county commissioner's son with multiple DUI's, was in court Thursday morning for charges related to the parking lot death of toddler Easton Cain. And emotions were running high.
Nearly a dozen family members were heard sobbing in the White County courtroom, holding up photos of 3-year-old Cain, as James Holcomb faced the judge on several charges related to the toddler's death.
Holcomb, of Cleveland, Ga., was charged with first-degree vehicular homicide, DUI, reckless driving, driving with an expired license and operating a vehicle without insurance, after he drove into a parked car, trapping, and ultimately, killing Cain.
"I feel like he is a danger to this community. I believe if he is released, he will commit another felony," the police chief said crying on the stand about Holcomb, who City Manager Michael Melton confirmed is White County Commissioner Lyn Holcomb's 36-year-old son.
"He will serve this community better sitting in jail. I oppose a bond. Based on his previous actions, he is a danger," the White County Sheriff said, referring to the three previous DUI charges and one possession of marijuana charge, beginning in 2001, when James, a construction worker, was 20 years old.
The judge denied his bond.
White County arrest reports for James Holcomb:
- DUI under 21 | Arrested at Circle K on Oct. 25, 2001 | Age: 20
- DUI, failure to maintain lane | Arrested on GA 75 on Jan. 11, 2002 | Age: 20
- Possession of marijuana | Arrested at 129/Jersey Drive on Jan. 19, 2003 | Age: 22
- Time to serve | Turned self in on March 14, 2003 | Age: 22
- Order of incarceration | Remanded, Lumpkin County Courthouse on June 4, 2003 | Age: 22
- Contempt of court | Arrested at Lumpkin County Sheriff's Office on April 9, 2003 | Age: 22
- Time to serve- 8 hours | Arrested at the White County Sheriff's Office on May 23, 2003 | Age: 22
- Time to serve- 28 days | White County Courthouse on Jan. 20, 2004 | Age: 23
- Probation violation | Arrested at the probation office on May 27, 2004 | Age: 23
- DUI, failure to maintain lane | Arrested at Bean Creek on Jan. 21, 2008 | Age: 27
- Reckless driving, first-degree vehicular homicide, D.U.I., operating a vehicle without insurance, driving on an expired license | Arrested at Ingles parking lot on Jan. 17, 2017 | Age: 36
James was driving a Chevrolet Avalanche and struck the rear of a parked and unoccupied Ford Explorer on Tuesday, according to witnesses Amber and Bryan Gruzenski.
Cain, who was with his mom in the Ingles parking lot, was standing at the rear of the Ford Explorer and was struck and pinned between the two vehicles.
“It was very chaotic. People were screaming, ‘Move the car!’ And the men were doing the best they could,” Bryan recalled.
He tried to help free the toddler.
“I reached through the passenger side, flipped the car off. We were able to get it in neutral and get the guy out and they rolled the car back,” he said. “We were doing everything we could to get the car off. And the guy was just slumped there, he was like a sack of potatoes.”
In fact, he said, when James fell out of his car, he had his legs crossed and his head down. The driver didn’t utter a word.
“It was just chaotic, oh my God, it was chaotic,” Bryan, who was visiting from Florida, said.
Cain’s mother was frantic, he said.
But the passersbys’ efforts weren’t enough.
Cain died in parking lot just before 1 p.m., on Jan. 17.
GSP arrived on the scene and conducted a sobriety test on Holcomb, the Gruzenskis said.
Police handcuffed him and took him into custody.
“It was more heartbreaking, because it was a senseless act. It could have been prevented,” Brian said.
With tears streaming down her face, Amber relived the horrific scene Wednesday afternoon, standing in the parking spot where it happened just one day prior.
“It was just chaotic. And I couldn't sleep last night because I just kept replaying it over and over. And just praying,” Amber said. “Just praying, praying, praying. We just both burst in to tears. I just feel so bad for the parents. I can't imagine what they're going through right now. It's so hard.”