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Investigation continues in hit-and-run death

By Curt Yeomans

cyeomans@news-daily.com

Two weeks after the hit-and-run car crash that ended the life of Ellenwood father and husband, Gerald Hardeman, one of the investigators working on the case said leads are still needed, to find out the identity of the driver who reportedly caused it.

What was known by police immediately following the accident, which occurred on March 3 at 7:50 p.m., on Interstate 75, is that the car that caused the four-car accident was a black, 1990s Trans Am, with a Georgia educator license plate.

On Tuesday, Clayton County Police Lt. Phillip Bailey, a hit-and-run investigator working on the case, said little else had been learned in the past two weeks about the car, or its driver.

"We still haven't come up with anything yet," Bailey said. "We're still trying to track down license plate numbers, but we have nothing, yet, that would lead us to the identity of the driver."

Bailey said he and other investigators working on the case would like the driver, or anyone who saw the accident and may know important details such as the license plate number of the Trans Am, to contact the police department's Hit and Run Investigations Division at (770) 473-3983.

The crash happened in the southbound lanes of I-75, just north of the westbound exit for Interstate 285. At the time of the incident, Clayton County Police Department spokesman, Officer Otis Willis, III, explained that it happened because the driver of the Trans Am reportedly swerved suddenly to the right -- from the second lane over from the median wall -- and struck a 1994 Honda.

The driver of the Trans Am continued driving south, without stopping, Willis told the Clayton News Daily on March 5. Hardeman had been driving a 2002 Ford Econoline van behind the Trans Am in its original lane, and also reportedly veered to the right when the first two cars collided.

As a result, the right, rear bumper of Hardeman's van collided with the front, left bumper of a 1999 Honda, causing the van to flip, according to Willis. Hardeman was thrown from the van as it flipped, Willis said.

Hardeman's death left his wife, Sonja, without her husband, and his five children, two of whom are also Sonja Hardeman's, without their father. Immediately after the accident occurred, Sonja Hardeman made a public plea for the driver to come forward, saying her family needed to know what happened to cause the accident.