Charles Owen Lang, 58, of Lyerly, Georgia, was sentenced to 35 years in prison on a guilty plea filed with District Judge Jeremy Taylor on September 10, 2021. Lang was on trial on two manslaughter charges and two assault charges.

“Lang was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment in each of the manslaughter convictions, while he was sentenced to two 15 years imprisonment in the two assault convictions,” said District Attorney Mike O’Dell.

According to O’Dell, the charges came from a December 7, 2018 car accident involving Lang’s 2015 Dodge Ram 1500 and the four victims’ Subaru Outback.

Local investigators found that Lang was driving what witnesses described as “excessive speed” and had not stopped at the stop sign at the intersection of West Main Street and Chestnut Bypass. Lang’s vehicle continued to hit the Subaru Outback when it tried to turn onto the Chestnut Bypass. Witnesses and the local law enforcement authorities all reported a “strong alcohol smell” at Lang at the scene. Lang also apparently tried to start his vehicle again and flee from the crime scene.

“Lang failed and failed the field sobriety test at the scene,” said O’Dell. “He was transported to the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office, where he was given an additional breath test and the results showed a blood alcohol level of 0.20, which is more than twice the legal limit. A blood sample was taken from Lang and presented to the Institute of Forensic Sciences for further toxicological investigation. These tests showed both hydrocodone and marijuana in his system. “

When the vehicle was searched, drugs and opened and unopened liquor bottles were confiscated.

“Tragically, as is often the case, the innocent victims of these DUI wrecks are the ones who die,” said O’Dell. “Jerry Cox, 82, died on the scene while his wife Patricia Cox, 81, was transported to the hospital but subsequently died in the hospital. Her granddaughter Rachel Cox, 31, and husband Darryl Michael Howell, 35, were seriously injured and transported to Floyd Medical Center in Rome, Georgia. “

“Both Ms. Cox and Mr. Howell were speaking to the court at the time of the pleading and making heartbreaking statements about the impact on the victim,” said O’Dell. “The effects of Lang’s crimes on this entire family have been and are utterly devastating. My heart breaks for the loss you have suffered and for the ongoing medical problems that you will face for a very long time. “

Court records show that after Lang has served his term in Alabama, he will be transferred to Georgia to serve a 10-year sentence on a drug conviction.

“On behalf of the family, I would like to thank everyone involved in bringing Mr. Lang to justice,” said O’Dell. “Firstly, all law enforcement officers have done an excellent job putting this case together so we can continue the prosecution. Second, I would like to say a special “thank you” to Assistant District Attorney Summer McWhorter Summerford who handled most of this case. Their dedication and professionalism in pursuing this matter have enabled the victims and their families to gain a semblance of closure and hold Lang accountable for his heinous crimes. ”