COBB COUNTY, Ga. - It was a devastating start to 2022 for Jermain Wilkins’ family. The father of an 11-year-old boy was hit head-on by a driver who’s now facing DUI charges, Cobb County police said.
"He was a devoted father," said Malisha Wilkins, the man’s mother. "Him and his son were very close. He had a spirit that would light a room."
Police said a car driven by 30-year-old Robert Godhigh of Dallas crossed into Wilkins’ lane while he was trying to pass another car, slamming into Wilkins head-on 2:30 New Year’s morning on Dallas Acworth Highway near Autumn View Drive.
Godhigh now faces charges of first-degree vehicular homicide, driving under the influence, and improper passing.
Wilkins’ mom says he was on his way from work.
"You took a young man’s father. You took adults’ son," Malisha Wilkins said. "And you took a sibling they cared and loved for so much."
New data shows that New Year’s weekend was a particularly deadly one on Georgia roads. The Georgia Department of Public Safety says including Wilkins, 15 people lost their lives in car crashes in those two days.
Malisha Wilkins said while her heart will remain broken for a while, a text message from a stranger granted her a shred of solace.
"‘You do not know me at all and I didn’t personally know your son, but I was there when the accident happened,’" Wilkins read from her phone. "It was completely senseless and irresponsible what that driver did. I want you to know that he wasn’t alone. I called 911 and I waited with him.’"
Cobb County police were unable to provide an update on the status of Godhigh’s charges on Tuesday evening.
Wilkins’ family has set up a GoFundMe to make sure his 11-year-old boy is taken care of and to help bury his dad: https://www.gofundme.com/f/mp3wq-help-with-funeral-funds