GSP says driver was drunk in fatal wreck - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

GSP says driver was drunk in fatal wreck

November 29, 2006

Lee County -- A Lee County teenager was killed in a late night crash, and the driver of the vehicle is charged with DUI and vehicular homicide.

Sixteen-year old Guy Tanner was killed when the pickup truck he was riding in flipped, and he was thrown out. The driver, 21-year old Clifford Sanspree told troopers he swerved to avoid a deer, but the GSP says he was driving drunk.

The Georgia State Patrol's Specialized Crash Reconstruction Team this afternoon examined Sanspree's pickup and the crash scene to determine what happened to cause the pickup to overturn. Friends gathered along Lover's Lane Road in shock over what happened.

Clifford Sanspree was driving south on Lover's Lane near Johns Drive just after 11:00 when he lost control and overturned Tuesday night. His passenger, Guy Tanner, was thrown from the truck and killed. Friends who gathered at the scene say they can't believe it. "I was just like, that's not possible I just talked to him last night," said Shirley Estes.

Their friends say Sanspree and Tanner were headed from one friend's house to another when they crashed. "They were going to come out to our house, but they didn't so they went somewhere else but it was just hanging out, but he had a lot of friend so he had a lot of places he could be," said Angel Patton.

Tanner, who dropped out of school, would have been a Junior at Lee County High School this year. Counselors were on hand at the school to help students who knew him. "We kind of go into counseling mode with everybody, and we try to help any of those that seem upset or that need some help," said Lee County High School Principal Kevin Dowling.

Tanner is the third Lee County teenager in the last 13 months to be killed in a crash. "We always want to have little teachable moments, we always want to encourage our kids to follow laws of the road to buckle their safety belt, because you just never know," said Dowling.

Tanner's friends say they'll remember his playful attitude and his ability to get along with everyone.  "He was an awesome person and he didn't deserve to go as soon as he did," said Patton.  

The GSP Trooper who responded to the crash charged Clifford Sanspree with Driving Under the Influence after smelling a strong odor of alcohol on Sanspree's breath. Blood has been drawn to determine Sanspree's blood alcohol level.  

Clifford Sanspree is in the Lee County Jail. He's charged with vehicular homicide, failure to maintain a lane, driving under the influence, and driving with a suspended license.

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