published Friday, September 2nd, 2011

Dalton woman could face charges in friend’s death

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A Dalton, Ga., woman could face charges after the car she was driving ran off the road Thursday morning and one of her friends was ejected and killed.

Police say 27-year-old Alicia Chandler swerved off Chattanooga Avenue about 1:30 a.m., slamming into the curb before correcting herself back onto the road. The jolt knocked 26-year-old Elizabeth Burchfield, who wasn’t wearing a seat belt, through the windshield.

As Chandler stopped the car and the other two passengers in the back seat jumped out, they flagged a Dalton police officer who was driving by at the same time, said Officer Steve Zahn.

Once Burchfield was rushed to Hamilton Medical Center in Dalton, she died from injuries she suffered on impact, Zahn said.

No one else was injured, he said.

Police are still investigating where the group of friends were coming from, but they believe alcohol was involved in the accident, Zahn said.

Chandler faces charges, but Zahn couldn’t say what they will be until the investigation is further along.

Burchfield, a lifelong resident of Dalton, had graduated from Phoenix High School, school officials said. She transferred from Southeast High School in 2002, her junior year.

Burchfield attended Dalton State College, according to her Facebook page.

Family members who answered the phone at Burchfield’s parents’ home in Dalton declined to comment.

Burchfield worked at Logan’s Roadhouse in Dalton, a manager confirmed, but she referred all other questions to the general manager.

“We’re all extremely upset about it,” she said.

Services for Burchfield will be held at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church at 11 a.m. Saturday, a Love Funeral Home employee said. Family members will receive friends after the service.

about Joy Lukachick Smith...

Joy Lukachick Smith is the city government reporter for the Chattanooga Times Free Press. Since 2009, she's covered crime and court systems in North Georgia and rural Tennessee, landed an exclusive in-prison interview with a former cop convicted of killing his wife, exposed impropriety in an FBI-led, child-sex online sting and exposed corruption in government agencies. Earlier this year, Smith won the Malcolm Law Memorial Award for Investigative Reporting. She also won first place in ...

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