A Summerville woman accused of vehicular homicide while driving under the influence has been sentenced to 15 years, eight which she must serve behind bars.

Caitlin Elizabeth Milam, 22, pleaded guilty on June 13 in Chattooga County Superior Court to first-degree vehicular homicide, driving under the influence, failure to maintain lane, driving on the wrong side of the roadway, speeding and reckless driving. Judge Brian House handed down the sentence.

According to Lookout Mountain Judicial Circuit District Attorney Chris Arnt:

Milam spent most of the night of March 14, 2020, partying with friends. In the early morning hours, Milam’s white Dodge Avenger was seen driving at an extremely high rate of speed past two witnesses at Mount Vernon Mills. Shortly after being seen at Mount Vernon Mills, at approximately 6:30 a.m., Milam, who was traveling southbound toward Summerville, crossed over into the northbound lane on U.S Highway 27 and struck a vehicle being driven by 22-year-old Haley Smith. Ms. Smith was on her way to work that morning. Her vehicle was overturned and she suffered catastrophic blunt force injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident.

Milam was found to have a blood-alcohol level of 0.206 (the legal limit is 0.08) and a toxicology report showed that she had cocaine and a sedation hypnotic in her system. Evidence downloaded from the Dodge Avenger showed that five seconds prior to the accident Milam’s speed increased as the steering wheel was turned to the left and the brakes were never used prior to the accident. Witnesses at Mount Vernon Mills, nearly two miles from the accident, stated that they heard the accident occur and described the accident as sounding like an “explosion.”

“We are proud to finally secure justice for Haley,” District Attorney Arnt said, “Due to COVID and other issues, this case took too long to secure justice for Haley and her family. But I am proud of my entire Chattooga County team for keeping constant pressure on the system to ensure this case was resolved. Without their diligence and hard work to expedite the case, this case might still be open.”

The case was investigated by Troopers Stephen Langham, Jonathan Maxwell, Logan Gass, and Scotty Smith of the Georgia State Patrol. Members of the Chattooga County Sheriff’s Office, including Chief Investigator Jason Burrage, also assisted in the investigation. Lookout Mountain Judicial Circuit (LMJC) Assistant District Attorney Clayton Fuller was the lead prosecutor on the case and gave the closing argument in sentencing. Fuller was assisted by Victim Advocate Cara Parris, Administrative Assistant Jennifer McLamb, and Investigator Eric Sliz

“My team will never tolerate a person getting in a car under the influence of alcohol and drugs and taking an innocent life,” Arnt said. “The Georgia State Patrol put together a strong case and I’m so proud of my team for never ceasing to pursue justice for Haley and her family no matter what obstacles they faced.”

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