WEST FORSYTH (Updated 2:50 p.m. Monday) — The driver of pickup truck involved in a single-vehicle wreck that claimed the life of a fellow 17-year-old early Sunday was driving while impaired and was on probation for two incidents involving alcohol this winter, authorities said.
In addition, the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office arrested a second teenager Monday in connection with the investigation after it was determined the truck full of teens had just left a large party involving alcohol at a home in a nearby subdivision where no “parental adults” were present.
As of Monday afternoon, the driver of the pickup, Adam Robert Joseph Di Millo of Dawsonville, remained at the Forsyth County Detention Center, where he was taken after being treated for injuries at North Fulton Hospital.
According to the sheriff’s office, Di Millo appeared Monday morning before a judge, who set his bond amount at $19,965. He has been charged with first-degree homicide by vehicle, driving under the influence and underage possession/consumption of alcohol.
According to the sheriff’s office, the crash occurred about 1:18 a.m. on Kelly Mill Road at Rockingham Run, near Post Road and the Telfair subdivision. It claimed the life of back seat passenger Paul Louis Castell Jr., who also had a Dawsonville address.
According to the Forsyth County school system, Castell was a rising senior at North Forsyth High, where he played lacrosse. Di Millo is a former North student, who left the district this spring.
Di Millo was driving a 2011 Dodge Ram pickup truck east on Kelly Mill when he reportedly lost control after entering a curve at a high rate of speed.
The rear of the truck hit a telephone pole and Castell, who was not wearing a seat belt, was thrown from the vehicle, according to the sheriff’s office. He died at the scene.
Three other male passengers, ages 15, 17 and 18, were taken to North Fulton Hospital with what authorities described as non-life threatening injuries.
According to the school system, one of the teens is a rising senior at North. The other two left the school district earlier this year.
While investigating the crash, authorities learned that Di Millo, Castell and the others were traveling from the home of Jeremiah Luke Funke, 18, in the nearby Tallant Worth subdivision off Hyde Road.
Investigators obtained a search warrant for the residence, where they discovered that a party involving about 60 teenagers had taken place.
As a result, Funke charged with possession of less than an ounce of marijuana, possession/consumption of alcohol by a minor and maintaining a disorderly house.
He was released from the detention center after posting a $2,365 bond on the charges, all of which are misdemeanors.
“His parents were out of town, leaving for a vacation,” said Robin Regan, a spokesman for the sheriff’s office. “When we called them, they returned right away, so they were not aware.”
Regan went on to note that the sheriff’s office has “already taken a lot of measures to educate and enforce and prevent this type of thing, so we’re going to be continuing those efforts and increasing them as well.”
“It’s tragic, but this is the time of year where that stuff increases and we do everything we can to educate and prevent that from happening,” he said.
The investigation is ongoing and authorities have not ruled out the possibility of additional charges.
“He could still be facing [more] charges,” Regan said. “… We are currently interviewing people involved to find out how the alcohol was obtained. There are numerous ways they could have obtained it, we just want to figure out which way.”
It is unclear if Funke shared marijuana with the driver or any of the other teens at the party.
“As far as what else Mr. Di Millo was under the influence of, we are waiting pending blood results,” said Regan, adding that authorities are “still looking into the teens that were there” as far as any other charges.
According to the sheriff’s office, Di Millo is on probation for two incidents earlier this year.
On the morning of Feb. 3, he was cited for possession/consumption of alcohol by a minor at a Forsyth County school and released to his parents.
Shortly after, the teen was seen walking along a road. After determining that he had left home while still under the influence of alcohol, authorities charged him with pedestrian under the influence.