Family mourns 61-year-old man killed by drunk driver

Family mourns 61-year-old man killed by drunk driver

RICHMOND COUNTY, GA (WFXG) - A 27-year-old man is in jail tonight - accused of killing a McDuffie County man while driving drunk this morning. Richmond County deputies say Jonathan Butler slammed into the back of 61-year-old Vernon Faglier's car around 3 near mile marker 198 on I-20.

FOX 54's Jasmine Anderson talked to the victim's family - they're now making funeral arrangements.

"Why'd you do this to my papa? You ruined my family's life doing that," asked Faglier's 12-year-old grandson, Conner Hallford.

Twenty-four hours ago, Crystal Hallford heard her dad's last words to her. "I love you". Not knowing hours later his life would get cut short by a man Richmond County Sheriff's Office deputies say was drunk. The Hallford Home will never be the same.

"He just wanted to live his life with my mom and take care of all his grandchildren, because he's never had the chance to do it," Crystal Hallford said.

Faglier, a chemical engineer, retired in 2018 after serving 20 years in the Air Force. He and his grandchildren were looking forward to his greatest role yet - watching his grand kids.

He had three adult children, five grandchildren and a great-grandchild due to be born in November. Now, he'll never get that chance.

"I seen where the crash was and I see my dad's vehicle and went out running and I couldn't get him. He was gone. His vehicle was crushed. And that's all I remember after that," Crystal recalled.

Hallford had to break the news to her mother, Pam Faglier, that the man she'd spent 42 years with was gone. Pam and Vernon Faglier recently celebrated their anniversary.

"That was like the happiest thing. He went and bought her a car yesterday. And it was her birthday. So, her birthday was yesterday and she finds out her husband's passed away this morning," explained Crystal.

Now, Faglier's family has one message:

"Don't drink and drive. You might take someone else's family away," Conner said.

The family is trying to make funeral arrangements but they're on hold right now. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) is doing an autopsy on Faglier's body since Butler is facing charges.

He suffered minor injuries in that crash and was booked into the Charles B. Webster Detention Center after being released from Augusta University Medical Center.

Butler faces charges of DUI alcohol, first degree vehicular homicide, driving too fast for conditions and following too closely.


The Richmond County Sheriff's Office says Jonathan Ewing Butler is responsible for a deadly crash on I-20 westbound early Saturday morning.

Deputies say Butler was speeding in his BMW before 3 a.m. when he hit the back of a Nissan Frontier driven by 61-year-old Vernon Eugene Faglier of Thomson. The crash caused  both vehicles to run off the road and into a wooded area on the interstate.

Faglier was ejected from the vehicle. He was pronounced dead at the scene at 4:15 a.m.

Butler was taken to the hospital with minor injuries. He is facing several charges, including DUI Alcohol and Vehicular Homicide.

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