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#70: Six Haitians Killed in Car Accident in Atlanta (fwd)

From: Jocelyn McCalla <JMcCalla@nchr.org>

      			Crushed car may have stopped 
              	 	 By Brad Schrade, The Atlanta

  			The Nissan Sentra crushed by a      
                       tractor-trailer on a Ga. 400 exit lane had slowed
to a crawl,
		       or even stopped, before the crash that killed its
six passengers,
		       Roswell police said Monday.

    		       And it doesn't appear that any charges will be
filed against the
		       truck driver, Robert L. Moore, of Decatur, who
slammed into the 
		       rear of the Nissan on Sunday afternoon, killing
                       the six Haitian natives on their way home from
church, said
                       Sgt. Jim McGee.
                      "At least two other vehicles swerved to avoid the
                       McGee said. "Something wasn't right with the

                       Marie Saurel, 33, her daughter, Cindy Saurel, 12,
and two
   		       children--Diana Richemond, 10, and Mazyno
Richemond, 6, a
                       sister and brother--all were in the back seat
when the truck
                       skidded and slammed into their car. They died

                       Driver Leroy Petit-Simon, 46, and Marie's
brother, Andris
                       Pierre, 43, were in the front seat and also died
in the

                       McGee said it is unclear why the car slowed down.
                       Investigators will examine the engine again today
                       interview more witnesses to help determine why
the car was
                       traveling so slowly in the northbound Exit 7A
lane to
                       Holcomb Bridge Road. One witness said the car had
                       completely, McGee said.
                       Witnesses said the car had its hazard lights
flashing, but
                       they were dim, McGee said. Alcohol wasn't a part
of the
                       accident and the Nissan appeared to have had gas
                       investigators smelled it after the accident.

                       McGee said Moore was a contract driver for the
U.S. Postal
                       Service and was going to the Roswell post office
at Grimes
                       Bridge Road. He has been a truck driver for more
than 30
                       years and Sunday's crash was his first serious
                       McGee said.

                       The Haitians had been traveling from Good
Samaritan Baptist
                       Church off Dresden Drive in north Atlanta. Cindy
sang with
                       other children in the church's Haitian Father's

                       They lived in various apartments in Roswell along
                       Bridge Road and Ga. 400.

                       Raymond Joseph lived across the hall from
Apartment 1465D in
                       Kings Bridge apartments where Pierre and Marie
and Cindy
                       Saurel lived. The two families had prayed and
talked and
                       shared a meal together Saturday night.

                       Pierre, a cook, had a wife and three children
back in Haiti
                       to whom he sent money. He'd wanted to save enough
money to
                       go back home and build a house for his family,
Joseph said.

                       Joseph and Pierre were from the same town in
Haiti and had
                       known each other for 15 years, Joseph said. Like
                       Haitians, he'd come to the United States to
escape the
                       poverty and violence of his homeland.

                       Cindy, who would have started in the sixth grade
at Holcomb
                       Bridge Middle School this year, loved singing.
She sang a
                       song Saturday night during the gathering at

                       "That made joy for everybody in the house,"
Joseph said.
                       "She sang for me Saturday night. Something I will
                       forget the rest of my life."

                       Petit-Simon, the driver, was a custodian at
Roswell High
                       School. He sent portions of his paycheck home to
his wife
                       and four children. He'd begun trying to bring his
family to
                       this country.

                       His niece, Eliene Lynn, was at Petit-Simon's
Harmony Bay
                       apartment Monday afternoon where relatives and
                       gathered to cry and mourn together.

                       Lynn said relatives are struggling to fly in for
his burial
                       that will be held in metro Atlanta.

                       "He wanted them to be here," Lynn said. "He
didn't get to
                       accomplish that before he went. Maybe they'll get
to be here
                       for his funeral."

Jocelyn McCalla
Executive Director
National Coalition for Haitian Rights
Jmccalla@nchr.org <mailto:Jmccalla@nchr.org> 
www.nchr.org <http://www.nchr.org>