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The driver of an addiction recovery van that overturned in Georgia and caught on fire, resulting in the deaths of six women, has been charged with vehicular homicide.
The Gwinnett County police arrested Monica Elizabeth Manire, 32, on Wednesday in connection with the horrific incident, which occurred Saturday on an interstate. That evening, multiple drivers on both I-85 and I-985 called 911 to report a single-vehicle accident — a van overturned and engulfed in flames.
One caller stated that people were trapped inside the van. She watched several people get helped out of the van, noting that they were on fire, but said others seemed to be stuck inside.
“It’s fully engulfed,” another caller said. “It’s a ball of flames.”
He said he watched the car flip on a bank as it tried to go to merge from I-85 to I-985.
“Six people died at the scene, and several others were transported to local hospitals throughout metro-Atlanta,” police said in a press release. “One bystander suffered from a minor injury and denied transport.”
Alishia Carroll, 34, of Columbus, Kristie Whitfield, 44, of Mount AIry, Ashleigh Paris, 26, of Kennesaw, Tina Rice, 53, of Atlanta, Normisha Monroe, 38, of Norcross, and Rose Patrick, 34, of Ellabell lost their lives in the fiery crash.
Police charged Manire with six counts of homicide by vehicle in the first degree, one for each victim. They also charged her with improper lane change and four counts of serious injury by vehicle. She's being held on no bond, according to online jail records.
“Investigators believe that Manire made a reckless change of lanes from I-85 to I-985 which caused the van she was driving to flip on its side,” police stated.
The van belonged to We Are Living Proof, a recovery center, in Duluth. The passengers were headed to a sobriety meeting in Buford when the crash occurred. It’s not clear if Manire was an employee. Ashleigh Paris’ stepmom told Atlanta’s WSB-TV that she doesn’t believe she was.
Normisha Monroe’s sister ,Tamika Gooden, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that she never saw Manire before in her visits to the center and didn’t recognize her as a driver.
Houston County investigators charged Manire with possession of marijuana and a window tint violation last year. A warrant was issued for her arrest a few months back after she failed to show up for arraignment hearings, according to the AJC.
It’s not clear if Manire has a lawyer.
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