By David Beasley
ATLANTA (Reuters) - A 16-year-old driver in suburban Atlanta has been charged with vehicular homicide after the death of his mother in a car crash.
Calling it "a very tragic case," a police spokesman said on Wednesday that authorities were simply following the law.
"We can't just pick and choose what we think is appropriate based on the emotion of the incident," Cobb County Police spokesman Dana Pierce said. "We did what we were legally required to do by Georgia law."
The teenager was attempting to turn left at an intersection last week when a car struck his vehicle's passenger side, killing his mother, 45-year-old Kimberly Michelle Nichols, according to police.
Police charged the teen, who was not named, with second-degree vehicular homicide and failure to yield the right of way. He will be prosecuted in juvenile court.
Kathy Watkins, a spokeswoman for the Cobb County District Attorney's Office, said she could not comment on the case because it involves a juvenile.
In Georgia, a juvenile convicted of second-degree vehicular homicide faces up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine, said Lauren Kane, spokeswoman for the Georgia Attorney General's Office.
The teen's father, Michael Mosley, told Atlanta television station WSB that his son's view of oncoming traffic was blocked by a large truck that was also turning in the intersection.
The boy's mother instructed him to turn, Mosley said.
"He's got to live with this the rest of his life," Mosley told the television station. "Everyone else in the accident does, too. There's no reason to charge my son with ... second-degree homicide in an accident."
(Edited by Colleen Jenkins and Jerry Norton)