ACREE, GA (WALB) –Family members are grieving the death of a Worth County man who was hit by a car and killed Tuesday night.
56-year old Michael Thomas was hit by a car on Highway 82 in Acree. The driver who hit him kept going, but called 911 to say he thought he hit a deer. 33-year-old Joe Adkins was arrested early Wednesday morning and now faces felony charges for fleeing the scene.
81-year-old Louise Jefferson has watched her son Michael Thomas spiral downhill for years.
"I cant describe the pain I think he went through along with me there was nothing we could do about him," said Jefferson.
She says it all started in 1975 when he witnessed someone beat his 18-year-old brother to death with a 2x4.
"After his brother died he went downhill fast, ain't never been the same," said Minnie Pearl Young, the victims aunt.
He started wandering sometimes walking all the way from his home in Worth County to east Albany.
"He didn't have any control of walking but it got worse and worse the older he got," said Jefferson.
He would walk in the rain and cold often heading down highway 82 to the Motel Six in Albany.
"I said he going to get killed walking on the side of that road it was almost a sure thing," said Jefferson.
She prayed day and night for his safety but Tuesday night, her worst nightmare came true. Michael Thomas was just a short distance from his home on Peafowl Road when he was hit and killed, while walking.
His mother says she said him committed to a mental health facility but when he got out, he started wandering again. She says she begged folks to help put him in a concealed place.
"We knew it was going to happen one day if he didn't stop," said Young.
His mother says he had some difficulties walking, because of his arthritis, so he often walked between the grass and the traffic line.
"He couldn't pick his feet up high and the grass would have kept him back from what I hear," said Jefferson.
Thomas's body was sent to the GBI crime lab for an autopsy.
Troopers charged Adkins with first degree vehicular homicide because he didn't stop when he hit Thomas.
The accident is still under investigation and further charges are pending.