First on 3: Army sergeant charged with vehicular homicide in Veterans Parkway death

Local News

A U.S. Army sergeant assigned to Fort Benning was driving more than 80 miles per hour moments before his car struck and killed a man on Veterans Parkway nearly two months ago, according to Columbus Police.

Addison Owen, 30, appeared in Recorder’s Court Thursday afternoon facing vehicular homicide and reckless driving charges related to the Feb. 22 incident. He is charged in the death of Erick Bronson, 58, Bronson, was crossing Veterans at 24th Street just after 10:30 p.m. when he hit by the Subaru that Owen was driving.

Despite the fact that Owen had no record and has had an exemplary nine-year Army career, according to his attorney Robert Wadkins Jr., Judge Julius Hunter ordered him held on $35,000 bond.

Columbus Police Cpl. Bradley Waldie outlined the case against Owen, who was arrested on Wednesday.

Owen was in a group of about 200 people in the Columbus Civic Center at an impromptu “car show.” Columbus police disbursed the crowd. A number of the cars headed north on Veterans Parkway. Witnesses told police that Owen was in a group of vehicles that were racing prior to Bronson being struck.

Using multiple security cameras at businesses in the area, Waldie told the court that they determined that Owen was traveling between 75 mph and 80 mph. Police obtained a search warrant in March from Subaru.

Owen remained on the scene the night of the crash and told police he was traveling at 45 mph, the posted speed limit on that section of Veterans.

The data in the car’s computer showed that Owen was accelerating up until 1.5 seconds before impact with Bronson, according to Waldie.

Owen’s speed was:

— 5 seconds before impact, 70 mph

— 4.5 seconds before impact, 72 mph

— 4 seconds before impact, 72 mph

— 3.5 seconds before impact, 75 mph

— 3 seconds before impact, 78 mph

— 2.5 seconds before impact 81 mph

— 2 seconds before impact 83 mph

At 1.5 second before impact, Owen began to break, according to the car’s computer. The car was doing 67 mph at the time of the impact, which is 22 mph over the speed limit.

There is no crosswalk on that section of Veterans and 24th Street deadends before intersecting with Veterans Parkway. It appears Brunson was struck in the first northbound lane.

Owen originally told police he was in the center lane, but the evidence showed he was in the right lane, according to Waldie.

Owen’s vehicle had significant damage to the front end, hood, and windshield. Brunson was pronounced dead of blunt force trauma about 30 minutes after the incident, Muscogee County Coroner Buddy Bryan said.

There have been two fatalities near that point this year.

On Jan. 10, a 55-year-old homeless man was killed when he was struck by a truck as he attempted to cross Veterans Parkway just before 7, police say. Joseph S. Locklier was hit at the 23rd Street intersection as he attempted to cross the busy road. 

No charges have been filed in that incident.

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