Brandon Michael Weston, 32, of Smyrna, and Pamela Kay Rice, 41, of Marietta, were arrested on Tuesday and charged in the accident that killed 31-year-old Emanuel R. Mitchell the night of Aug. 20. The couple, who police said are married, is being held in the Cobb County Jail without bond.
They made their first court appearance Wednesday morning.
Weston is charged with vehicular homicide and tampering with evidence, both felonies, and failure to maintain lane, no insurance and failure to register a vehicle, all misdemeanors. Rice is charged with being a party to the crime of a hit-and-run, vehicular homicide and tampering with evidence, all felonies.
Weston and Rice were arrested at an apartment in Weston’s name at 1208 Cobb Crossing in the Oakley Run apartment complex off South Cobb Parkway in Smyrna. When police arrived at the apartment on Tuesday, the couple was home alone, said Chris Ayers, Cobb Police’s senior hit-and-run investigator.
Jail records indicate the two have different addresses, but Pierce said the two lived together in the Smyrna apartment.
Cobb police were called Friday morning by police dispatchers in Alabaster, Ala., near Birmingham, who said they had a call from an anonymous tipster who could give them information about the accident, said Sgt. Dana Pierce with Cobb police.
The tipster called Alabaster police after seeing the silver 1987 Porsche 944 Turbo in a body shop and seeing reports about the hit-and-run online, Ayers said.
Cobb investigators went to Alabaster with a wrecker Friday afternoon to retrieve the vehicle, which is being held as evidence until the case is closed, Pierce said.
Ayers said police don’t know whether the suspects drove the Porsche or had it towed to the Alabama community, approximately 160 miles from Marietta, but said it arrived there on Aug. 24.
The suspects reportedly requested the body shop paint the car a different color after repairing damages to the front fender and replacing the tires.
Pierce said the body shop, whose name has not been released, started working on the car before police retrieved it Friday.
Investigators are still trying to determine why the vehicle was taken to Alabama and what connection the couple has to Alabaster, Ayers said.
Ayers said that if the suspects had not fled the scene that day, they might have only been charged with failure to maintain lane.
“Through the efforts of the community, Alabaster (Police Department) and this individual who tipped off authorities in Alabama, they brought this case to a close,” Pierce said. “However, investigators have loose ends to tie up and it will stay open for prosecution purposes.”
Pierce said he “hopes in some way this brings closure” to the family of the victim, who was buried Wednesday.
According to an Aug. 21 press release, witnesses told police the driver of the Porsche was headed southbound down Interstate 75 to the right of Mitchell’s black 1990 Kawasaki Vulcan motorcycle when the driver abruptly changed lanes to the left, hitting Mitchell. Mitchell was ejected from his motorcycle, and a second car, driven by 23-year-old Sonni Smith of Atlanta, hit him. Mitchell was pronounced dead at the scene. Smith was not charged in the accident.
Witnesses were able to identify the suspect’s vehicle at the crime scene on Aug. 20 and police were later able to identify the make and model of the vehicle from evidence on the scene.
Police do not know who was driving at the time of the accident on Aug. 20, but the vehicle is registered in Weston’s name.
Anyone with additional information is asked to call Cobb investigators at (770) 499-3987.