Fatal Accident Driver Faces Vehicular Homicide Charges

A seven-car accident resulted in the death of Cynthia Thornton and involved three Tucker motorists.

Location of a fatal multi-car wreck on Jan. 16. Mapquest Mapbuilder
Location of a fatal multi-car wreck on Jan. 16. Mapquest Mapbuilder

A Gainesville man, who is in intensive care after a fatal multi-car accident near Norcross that police say he caused, will be charged with first-degree vehicular homicide, according to Gwinnett Police.

Jacob Nicholson, 22, is allegedly responsible for the accident Thursday morning at the intersection of Jimmy Carter Boulevard and Singleton Road that involved six other vehicles stopped at the intersection.

Police say Cynthia Thornton, 59, of Norcross, driver of one of the vehicles involved, died at the scene.

Nicholson, who was listed in critical condition in intensive care at Gwinnett Medical Center, faces charges of first-degree vehicular homicide, reckless driving, speeding, driving on the wrong side of the road, no seatbelt and expired driver’s license.

According to Gwinnett Police spokesman Cpl. Ed Ritter, investigators believe Nicholson was driving a Honda Odyssey south on Singleton Road “at a high rate of speed” and swerved into oncoming traffic, crashing into six vehicles stopped at the red light at Jimmy Carter Blvd. Nicholson was ejected from the minivan.

Thornton was the driver of a Honda Accord parked at the light. Stephen Merritt, 42, of Tucker, the driver of a Buick Lacrosse, was taken to Gwinnett Medical for treatment of what police say were minor injuries.

Two other drivers from Tucker were identified: Peggy Holzgefe, 58, driving a silver Lexus ES300, and Carlton Berry, 51, in a white Lincoln Navigator. Neither was injured. 

“This investigation continues as the investigators attempt to determine or identify any other contributing factors in this crash,” Ritter said in an emailed media alert.


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