Police charge teenage driver in accident that killed a Lakeside High teacher

Posted by Dan Whisenhunt April 30, 2015
A diagram of the accident contained in a Decatur Police report

A diagram of the accident contained in a Decatur Police report

This story has been updated. 

Decatur Police have arrested the driver of a Dodge Charger that struck and killed a Lakeside High School teacher on April 25.

Police arrested Ramiro Pedemonte, 19, of Tucker, Ga. and have charged him with first degree vehicular homicide, serious injury by vehicle and reckless driving. Pedemonte was driving the rented car on his way to the Lakeside High School prom with an 18-year-old female passenger. Both Pedemonte and the 18-year-old passenger are Lakeside High School students.

“Pedemonte was taken into custody at his residence without incident,” Decatur Police Lt. Jennifer Ross said.

According to police, on April 25, Leah O’Brien was attempting to turn left (from Ridley Circle), eastbound onto Scott Boulevard, and Charger was traveling westbound on Scott Boulevard when it hit O’Brien, who died as the result of her injuries. Her 8-year-old daughter was sent to the hospital in critical condition.

The initial report indicated that O’Brien failed to yield. But Katie Clarke, a witness who contacted Decaturish, said the Charger was driving well over the posted speed limit of 40 miles per hour when it hit O’Brien’s Hyundai Sonata.

“They were going so incredibly fast,” she said.

Ross confirmed that the police investigators believe Pedemonte was speeding that night.

“We have evidence of excessive speed,” she said.

Ramiro Pedemonte. Source: DeKalb County Sheriff

Ramiro Pedemonte. Source: DeKalb County Sheriff

Clarke said she and her husband were in a vehicle “two car lengths” behind the Charger when it turned onto Scott Boulevard. When the accident occurred, she was in front of Westchester Elementary.

From Clarke’s point of view, it looked like O’Brien didn’t see the Dodge Charger coming.

Clarke said that the Charger was behind another car in the left lane of Scott Boulevard. She said she was in the right lane.

“They were bearing down on that car,” she said. “Right before they were about to jump over it, they swerved into our lane and shot up in that lane. A couple of seconds later, they hit Leah.”

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

About Dan Whisenhunt

Dan Whisenhunt is editor and publisher of Decaturish.com. https://www.linkedin.com/in/danwhisenhunt

View all posts by Dan Whisenhunt

  • AndreainAtlanta

    A Google search reveals that Mr. Pedemonte was arrested on felony drug charges just last year. Teenagers make awesome decisions!

    • JC

      I had more than a few friends who should have been arrested on felony drug charges when I was in high school, and they are now all living productive, responsible, adult lives. Let’s not judge people based on their Google search results.

      • sharron

        Amen@j.c….Leah is a friend of mine and I will miss her, but I still pray for this young man, his passenger, Kori, and Rachel,(her daughters).. and All family members, and friends of everyone involved…

      • AndreainAtlanta

        You’re right, JC. Mr. Pedemonte makes awesome decisions.

  • nomadicNancy

    A teen in a rental muscle car….this is why most rental car agencies have a 25-yr-old age restriction. Tragic.

    • Robyn Kinney

      I was

  • Belinda

    Or if mommy or daddy could be held liable if one of them rented it for him.

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