A Dalton man was arrested March 29 in connection with a 2017 ATV crash in Walker County that killed his girlfriend.

Eric Anthony Curtis, 30, of 223 Jasper Way, Dalton, was booked into the Walker County jail on the charge of first-degree homicide by vehicle.

Cpl. Scotty Smith with the Georgia State Patrol’s (GSP) Specialized Collision Reconstruction Team (SCRT) in Calhoun said the ATV’s driver was undetermined at the time of the crash, and SCRT was not notified immediately. About eight months later the team was asked investigate.

After conducting several interviews and examining the four-wheeler, the team concluded Curtis had been driving the vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, Smith said.

Curtis would have been indicted last year had COVID-19 not slowed down the judicial process, he explained.

According to the GSP’s accident report:

Curtis, Daniel Taylor Smith of Rocky Face and Laura Hayes of Dalton were traveling west on Joe Robertson Road, near the Whitfield County line, on Smith’s 2006 Artic Cat on June 14, 2017, at 3:20 a.m.

The ATV traveled off the south edge of the roadway near a slight left curve, struck an embankment and overturned several times. The three occupants were thrown off the vehicle, which came to rest in the ditch, facing south.

Hayes was killed in the crash. Smith was transported by Lifeforce to Erlanger Medical Center, and Curtis was taken by ambulance to Hamilton Medical Center for treatment.

All three occupants were age 26 at the time.

The posted speed limit was 35 mph, and no other vehicle was involved. No contributing factors related to weather, road conditions or the ATV’s condition were noted in the crash report.

Catherine Edgemon is assistant editor for the Walker County Messenger in LaFayette, Ga., and the Catoosa County News in Ringgold, Ga.

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