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Tow truck driver killed, driver arrested in I-85 north crash in Coweta County

Troopers responded to a vehicle crash on I-85 Northbound at mile marker 40 early Wednesday morning.

COWETA COUNTY, Ga. — A tow truck driver was killed Wednesday morning after another car struck him while standing in the emergency lane in Coweta County, according to the Georgia Department of Public Safety. 

Troopers and deputies with the Coweta County Sheriff's Office responded to a vehicle crash on I-85 northbound at mile marker 40 early Wednesday morning.

Investigators with GDPS said the tow truck driver, identified as 49-year-old Toby Bowden, was assisting with a previous crash when he was hit and killed by another car. The sheriff's office also said a deputy was hurt.

The department said a 2006 Honda Civic crashed into the tow truck driver while he was standing on the left side emergency lane. They also added that two fire trucks had their emergency lights activated just north of the tow truck.

The driver of the Honda, identified as 31-year-old Christopher Thornton, was driving too fast, the department said. He tried to swerve to avoid striking the fire trucks but lost control of his car. The Honda began rotating counterclockwise towards the left side emergency lane, where it hit Bowden.

Bowden died at the scene, the department said. Thornton was arrested on the spot as he had a previous warrant, and he is now facing multiple charges, including:

  • First-degree vehicular homicide
  • Move over law violation
  • Reckless driving
  • Driving under the influence
  • Failure to maintain lane
  • Too fast for conditions

The sheriff's office also wants to remind drivers of Georgia's "Move Over Law," which makes it mandatory for drivers to move over one lane "when possible" if there is an emergency vehicle with flashing lights parked on the highway. When traffic is heavy, the office said to slow down and be prepared to stop. 

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