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Victim found to be driver in car wreck

COVINGTON - The Georgia State Patrol's Specialized Collision Reconstruction Team (S.C.R.T.) has determined that the man who was killed in a one-vehicle crash on Kirkland Road on Sept. 15 was driving the car at the time of the accident, according to Sgt. Fred Moon.

Joshua Billups, 22, of Conyers died when he was ejected from the vehicle.

His passenger, a 21-year-old Covington man, was initially believed to be the driver and was arrested in connection with the crash.

GSP Trooper A. Rhodes said the Pontiac G6 the two men were riding in left the roadway and struck a mailbox and a utility pole in the early morning hours.

The passenger was taken to Newton Medical Center where he was treated and released to the custody of the Newton County Detention Center. He was charged with DUI and homicide by motor vehicle, in addition to several other traffic violations.

GSP authorities cautioned last week, however, that those initial charges could be withdrawn, pending the outcome of the S.C.R.T. investigation, set to be completed Monday.

Moon said he was notified Monday afternoon that the reconstruction team had confirmed that the 21-year-old Covington man was a passenger in the vehicle. He said it appeared the seat belt the passenger was wearing not only saved his life, but also made it possible for investigators to determine he was not driving the vehicle. Charges will be dropped against the man, Moon said.

Barbara Knowles can be reached at barbara.knowles@newtoncitizen.com.