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Forsyth Central grad drafted to MLB charged in fatal Lawrenceville wreck
Michael Branigan
Michael Branigan.

A Forsyth Central High School graduate who was drafted to the MLB in 2014 faces charges for a fatal crash in Lawrenceville on Sunday that he supposedly fled from before turning himself in later that day.

Michael Robert Branigan, 21, was arrested for vehicular homicide, hit and run and following too closely in connection with the crash that killed 26-year-old Anthony McPherson, of Buford, according to Lawrenceville Police Department Capt. Jeff Smith.

“After the [crash], he drove a distance in his vehicle and then fled on foot,” Smith said.

Around 5:45 a.m. July 9, Branigan was driving a 2013 Ford Taurus east on Highway 316 at its intersection with Duluth Highway when he rear-ended a 2009 Toyota Camry that was being driven by McPherson’s friend, according to an accident report.

The impact caused the Camry to flip before landing in a wooded area, Smith said.

McPherson, who was the passenger in the car, was pronounced dead on scene.

“Speed is a factor, and the preliminary investigation would show that Branigan was traveling at a substantially high rate of speed when he struck the other vehicle,” Smith said.

Though the accident report does not indicate whether Branigan was under the influence of drugs or alcohol when the wreck occurred, Smith said “part of the investigation” has been determining if he was.

He added the investigation is ongoing and that he does not anticipate charges for the driver of the Camry.

Branigan was drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks – he has since been released – the year he graduated Central, where he also played football.

He was booked in the Gwinnett County Jail, where he later posted a $25,900 bond.