The family of Evelyn Mary Osborne told Atlanta's WSB-TV that they watched in horror as a car hit the hearse at the intersection of Lawrenceville Highway and Rockbridge Road in Lilburn on Friday afternoon, causing the grisly wreck.
“I said that’s my mother in that car,” Norma Osborne Stanley, her daughter, said. “(The hearse) went over, like top to bottom, three times.”
Lilburn police had stopped traffic as the funeral procession headed south on the road, but the driver, Troy Michael Hickey, allegedly ignored that and slammed into the hearse, according to a police incident report obtained by AJC.com.
The family had just left her mother’s funeral, “celebrating her life,” Stanley told WSB-TV.
The wreck hurt the two funeral directors who were inside the hearse. They were taken to an area hospital, the news station reported. Their conditions were not provided.
“He hit it so fast and so hard, it sounded like he had gone through a brick wall,” pastor Virginia Holland Davis told WSB-TV.
When the responding officer met with Hickey, he said he noticed his “pulse was visible on his neck and he had white spit on the side of his mouth,” the incident report said. Hickey allegedly admitted to using methadone, a Schedule II synthetic opioid, three weeks ago, but the officer said he saw “fresh track marks” on his arms.
Hickey allegedly failed several parts of a field sobriety test and was arrested. He faces charges of DUI, failure to obey a person directing traffic and violating a funeral procession’s right of way, according to the report.
The family told WSB-TV that they had to go back to the funeral home to get another casket and hearse before her burial.
“Whenever I close my eyes, that’s what I see — my mother tumbling,” Stanley said. “Every time I close my eyes.”
AJC.com has reached out to the Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office for more information on Hickey’s incarceration.