Charles Owen Lang, 58, of Lyerly, Georgia, was sentenced to 35 years in prison pursuant to guilty pleas entered before Circuit Judge Jeremy Taylor on September 10, 2021. Lang was before the court on two Manslaughter and two Assault First Degree charges.
“Lang was sentenced to 20 years in each of the Manslaughter convictions, while he received two 15 year sentences in the two Assault convictions,” District Attorney Mike O’Dell stated.
According to O’Dell, the charges stemmed from a December 7, 2018, automobile wreck involving Lang’s 2015 Dodge Ram 1500 and the four victims’ Subaru Outback.
Investigators on the scene found Lang was traveling at what was described by witnesses as “excessive speed” and had failed to stop at the stop sign at the intersection of West Main Street and Chestnut Bypass. Lang’s vehicle proceeded to strike the Subaru Outback as it attempted to turn onto Chestnut Bypass. Witnesses, along with law enforcement on the scene, all reported a “strong odor of alcohol” on Lang at the scene. Lang also apparently attempted to re-start his vehicle and flee the scene.
“Lang was given, and failed, the field sobriety test at the scene,” O’Dell pointed out. “He was transported to the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office where he was administered an additional breath test and the results demonstrated a blood alcohol level of .20, which is more than twice the legal limit. A blood sample was taken from Lang and submitted to the Department of Forensic Sciences for further toxicological testing. Those tests indicated both hydrocodone and marijuana in his system as well.”
A search of the vehicle resulted in the seizure of drugs and both opened and unopened bottles of liquor.
“Tragically, as is so often the case, the innocent victims of these DUI wrecks are the ones who die,” O’Dell said. “Jerry Cox, 82, died at the scene, while his wife, Patricia Cox, 81, was transported to the hospital but subsequently died at the hospital. Their granddaughter, Rachel Cox, 31, and her husband, Darryl Michael Howell, 35, were very seriously injured and were transported to Floyd Medical Center in Rome, Georgia.”
“Both Ms. Cox and Mr. Howell spoke to the court at the time of the pleas, giving heart-wrenching Victim Impact Statements,” O’Dell stated. “The impact of Lang’s crimes upon this entire family has been, and continues to be, absolutely devastating. My heart breaks for the loss they have suffered and for the ongoing medical issues they will continue to deal with for a very long time.”
Court records indicate that after serving his Alabama sentences, Lang will be transferred to Georgia to serve a 10 year sentence for a drug conviction.
“On behalf of the family, I want to thank those involved in bringing Mr. Lang to justice,” O’Dell said. “First, all the law enforcement officers did an excellent job in putting this case together for us to go forward with prosecution. Second, I want to say a special ‘thank you’ to Deputy District Attorney Summer McWhorter Summerford who handled the bulk of this prosecution. Her dedication and professionalism in the prosecution of this matter made it possible for the victims and their family to gain some semblance of closure and make Lang accountable for his heinous crimes.”