A 39-year-old Armuchee man has been charged in the collision occurring Wednesday that killed a Rome mother of six children.
Edward Junior Lawrence was in custody as of midday Friday, according to Floyd County Police Sgt. Chris Fincher. Lawrence is charged with felony homicide by vehicle, felony leaving the scene of an accident and improper lane change, Fincher says. Hilda Lopez Santizo-Perez, 37, of Rome was killed in the accident on Martha Berry near Rhinehart Equipment Co. Her 3-year-old son escaped serious injury.
In an update Friday, police said the accident unfolded as follows:
♦ Lawrence was driving a 2008 Lincoln Town Car south in the right lane of Martha Berry Highway while Santizo-Perez was traveling in the left lane.
♦ Lawrence made an improper lane change, causing Santizo-Perez to lose control of her vehicle. Her 2006 Nissan Altima then veered across the northbound lanes.
♦ It was then struck on the passenger side by a 2020 Toyota 4-Runner driven by Charcia Baldwin.
♦ Both the child and Baldwin were transported to a local hospital for treatment.
Santizo-Perez had been rushed to Atrium Health Floyd’s emergency center where she was pronounced dead at 2:16 p.m. Wednesday, says Deputy Coroner John Hamilton. He drove up on the accident and was helping EMS assist her at the scene. A search for Lawrence and the Lincoln Town Car had been under way since the time of the wreck. Santizo-Perez is survived by her husband, Genaro Lopez, and six children, five of whom attend schools in the Armuchee district.
Two funds have been established to help the family. One is at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, 911 N. Broad St., Rome, 30162 (Hilda Lopez fund) and an online account account at GoFund.me/f1a61d72.
A vigil service and visitation will be held at Good Shepherd Funeral Home, 2750 Shorter Ave., on Saturday, Jan. 14, from 3 until 7 p.m. A funeral Mass will take place at St. Mary’s Catholic Church on Thursday, Jan. 19 at 1:30 p.m. with graveside service and interment to follow.
The investigation was concluded by the Patrol Division, Criminal Investigations Division and H.E.A.T. Unit.