ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) -- A local 22-year-old was indicted Friday and is facing vehicular homicide and reckless driving charges.
Nadia Butterfield hit and killed a 21-year-old construction worker, Chad Mickler, around 2 a.m. in September. Chad Mickler has three-year-old twin boys and a fiancée. He was a contractor from Florida working here in Atlanta at the time.
Now his family is left picking up the pieces after they say Butterfield made a very careless decision.
“He was a concrete cutter, he was out there cutting the road,” said Sarah Hehmann, Chad’s fiancé.
Mickler was working on I-285 near Cascade road when he was hit and killed by Butterfield.
“It’s changed everything,” Hehmann added.
Police say Butterfield was speeding and entered a closed portion of the interstate, striking a guardrail before hitting Mickler.
Back in September, investigators told CBS46’s Melissa Stern they believed alcohol may have been a factor and that additional charges are possible, pending the results of a blood test.
“There was a search warrant, a court order, and there should be no excuse why her blood was not taken,” added Hehmann.
His fiancée is correct. The police report shows that the Magistrate Court of Fulton County issued a blood search warrant. Yet the District Attorney’s Office tells CBS46’s Melissa Stern blood was never taken.
“The hospital supported her refusal,” said Deanna Hehmann, Sarah Hehmann’s mother, and the grandmother to Mickler’s kids.
A spokesperson for Grady Hospital says nurses can choose not to do the draw when a patient does not give consent. Police say if medical personnel decline, they cannot force them to do so.
Police also secured a warrant for Butterfield’s medical records. However, no blood was drawn while she was at Grady Hospital so there was no blood evidence received as a result of that effort.
“If, in fact, driving under the influence was a substantial factor in the incident, we would like them to show on record,” Hehmann said.
But the DA's office adds they were able to reach the conclusion that she was driving in a less than safe manner based on other evidence collected from witnesses at the scene.
“She chose to get in her car, and I think she needs to pay for what she did,” said Connie Pribble, Mickler’s grandmother.
Butterfield’s dad, Torris, is an attorney. He spoke to CBS46’s Melissa Stern back when the crash first happened.
“We are extremely remorseful and give our condolences to the family of the construction worker who lost his life,” said Torris Butterfield.
Now, Mickler’s family is left grieving, and two little boys will grow up without their dad.
“It’s really hard. They were Chad’s buddy, they always listened to Chad, always followed him around, they were always together,” Sarah said.
Butterfield has bonded out and is awaiting a court date.
Police say because of repeated instances where medical personnel declined to draw blood, they now contract with a private vendor to draw blood for cases where they have a warrant to secure blood evidence.
Butterfield’s father, who is also an attorney, issued the following statement:
Nadia Butterfield, her family, and community would like the family of Chad Mickler to know that they are saddened by the tragic accident on 9-15-2019 which lead to the passing of their loved one. This was an accident and alcohol was not a factor. Witnesses have stated that the incident was initially caused by debris on the highway. Nadia Butterfield was following 2 other cars when the incident occurred. Her car crashed into the the guard rail and traveled nearly 100 yards before striking Mr. Mickler and crashing into a parked work truck on the scene.
Nadia was unconscious and suffered mild brain injury (concussion), loss of memory, fractured cervical bones in her neck, broken fingers, and other injuries. The car has been preserved and accident reconstruction experts have stated the accelerator was jammed into the plastic weather tech floor mat.
This was truly an tragic accident and there is eyewitness evidence, video evidence, and documentary evidence of Nadia's demeanor shortly before the wreck which all show that alcohol was not a factor in the wreck. More importantly, the lead investigator stated that at the police station immediately after the wreck, he did not smell alcohol or narcotics on Nadia's breath. As such, she was not charged with Vehicular Homicide based on DUI. Instead, he charged her with Vehicular Homicide based on Reckless Driving because he believed that she should have been able to stop the vehicle before the crash.
As for blood, please know that Grady Hospital did obtain blood from Nadia on 2 occasions shortly after her arrival. They drew blood on Sunday, 9-15-19 and on Monday 9-16-19. They performed complete metabolic panel testing at the Grady lab. When Officer Sutton went to Grady with a warrant, Nadia was handcuffed to a bed with police and medical personnel around. It was Grady staff who said they would not take blood unless the patient consented. Nadia was a prisoner at the time and she had suffered a concussion and loss of memory. Nonetheless, the blood was drawn and toxicology could have been done because alcohol in blood can be preserved from 4 to 6 months. As far as we know, Grady still has blood samples.
In the end, this was a tragic accident and Nadia Butterfield, her family, and community would like the family of Chad Mickler to know that they are saddened by the loss. We pray for their healing and understanding as they obtain the evidence and facts from 9-15-19.