Woman Gets 15-Year Term (8 To Serve) For Traffic Death Of 22-Year-Old Haley Smith

  • Wednesday, June 22, 2022
Caitlin Elizabeth Milam
Caitlin Elizabeth Milam

A woman who pled guilty to homicide by vehicle in the first degree has been sentenced to 15 years in prison.

Lookout Mountain Judicial District Attorney Chris Arnt said Caitlin Elizabeth Milam, 22, is to serve eight years of the term.

She appeared before Judge Brian House at Summerville, Ga., on Wednesday after pleading guilty to the homicide by vehicle as well as DUI, failure to maintain lane, driving on the wrong side of the roadway, speeding, and reckless driving on Monday.

DA Arnt said Ms. Milam spent most of the night of March 14, 2020 partying with friends. In the early morning hours, her white Dodge Avenger was seen driving at an extremely high rate of speed past two witnesses at Mount Vernon Mills. Shortly after being seen at Mount Vernon Mills at approximately 6:30 a.m. traveling southbound toward Summerville, she crossed over into the northbound lane on Highway 27 and struck a vehicle being driven by Haley Smith, 22. Ms. Smith was on her way to work that morning. Ms. Smith’s vehicle was overturned and she suffered catastrophic blunt force injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident.

Ms. Milam was found to have a blood alcohol level of .206 (the legal limit is .08) and a toxicology report showed that she had cocaine and a sedation hypnotic in her system. Evidence downloaded from the Dodge Avenger showed that five seconds prior to the accident Ms. Milam’s speed increased as the steering wheel was turned to the left and the brakes were never used prior to the accident.

Witnesses at Mount Vernon Mills, nearly two miles from the accident, said they heard the accident occur and described the accident as sounding like an “explosion.”

DA Arnt stated, “We are proud to finally secure justice for Haley. Due to COVID and other issues, this case took too long to secure justice for Haley and her family. But I am proud of my entire Chattooga County team for keeping constant pressure on the system to ensure this case was resolved. Without their diligence and hard work to expedite the case, this case might still be open.”

The case was investigated by Troopers Stephen Langham, Jonathan Maxwell, Logan Gass, and Scotty Smith of the Georgia State Patrol. Members of the Chattooga County Sheriff’s Office including Chief Investigator Jason Burrage also assisted in the investigation.

Lookout Mountain Judicial Circuit (LMJC) Assistant District Attorney Clayton Fuller was the lead prosecutor on the case and gave the closing argument in sentencing. He was assisted by Victim Advocate Cara Parris, Administrative Assistant Jennifer McLamb, and Investigator Eric Sliz.

DA Arnt said, “My team will never tolerate a person getting in a car under the influence of alcohol and drugs and taking an innocent life. The Georgia State Patrol put together a strong case and I’m so proud of my team for never ceasing to pursue justice for Haley and her family no matter what obstacles they faced.” 

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