Ryan Quinton, 28, of Jasper, turned himself in to the Cherokee County jail Wednesday on charges of driving under the influence and vehicular homicide in the Dec. 30 wreck that killed his new wife just after their wedding reception, police said Thursday. According to the Georgia State Patrol, which took out a warrant for Quinton’s arrest Monday night, his charges also include laying drag, reckless driving and failure to maintain lane in the crash that killed Dobson, a Pickens High graduate, singer and orthodontic assistant.
GSP spokeswoman Franka Young said a test revealed the groom’s blood alcohol content at the time of the crash was 0.114. The legal limit for blood alcohol content while driving for those over the age of 21 is 0.08 in Georgia.
With the arrest, the bride’s mother, Linda Jordan, said the family is once again grieving — but they support Quinton totally.
“He is my son and a brother to my daughters now and an uncle to my grandbabies. We support him in any way we possibly can,” the mother of the Ball Ground resident said Thursday.
“We can’t stand to see something happen to him. We’re behind him. Whatever it takes, we’re right there for him.”
Dobson’s mother says the family has already suffered enough since the accident that left friends, family and strangers all over the world mourning the loss of the 25-year-old who was killed on what should have been the best day of her life.
“We shouldn’t have to endure all this, too,” Jordan said.
Attorneys for Quinton released a statement on his behalf late Thursday saying they could not comment on how he will plead in the case.
The statement from Canton attorneys Ross D. Grisham and Scott T. Poole asked the community for its support of the Quinton and Dobson families and thanked authorities for allowing Quinton to quickly post $25,000 in bond and be released from jail Wednesday night.
“That being said, Mr. Quinton’s arrest only compounds the anguish he has already experienced in dealing with the loss of his wife,” the statement continued. “Like all persons charged with a crime, Mr. Quinton is presumed to be innocent and we will make every effort to protect his rights and the integrity of the judicial system as the case progresses.”
The painful ordeal for Dobson’s and Quinton’s families began as the new bride and groom were leaving their wedding reception at the Wheeler House in Ball Ground.
At about 8:30 p.m., Quinton lost control of his Pontiac Firebird on Highway 5 near Old Canton Road. The car flew down a steep embankment and came to a crashing stop on top of the bride, who hadn’t been wearing a seat belt and was thrown from the car, police said at the time of the incident.
Authorities have said Quinton told them he had swerved to miss a dog before wrecking the car.
On Thursday, Sgt. Tim Nichols, post commander for GSP’s Jasper office, which worked the accident, said the charges of laying drag and reckless driving don’t mean that the groom is being accused of lying about the dog.
“I’m not accusing him of not telling the truth,” Nichols said, adding that a reconstruction of the accident was done by detectives. “Based on that investigation, these were the charges they felt contributed to the crash.”
Minutes after the wreck, the groom was found walking down the road with his head bloodied and begging Ball Ground resident Chris Thomas for help.
Thomas recalled Thursday how pure and profound the devastation he saw in Quinton was that night.
“As an onlooker, I saw how distraught and upset he was,” said Thomas, who had been driving to the store when he saw Quinton stumbling down the road desperately looking for help. “The gravity of it, he could feel it.”
After hearing of the charges against the groom, Thomas said he wanted to make no speculation about Quinton’s guilt or innocence, but “I just couldn’t imagine there being any type of punishment worse than what he’s gotten” in the loss of his bride.
“I guess law enforcement doesn’t decide what he deserves; they just decide whether he did anything (against the law) or not,” he added.
Thomas said he would pray for Quinton to have peace, just as he did the night of the wreck, before bridesmaids still in their dresses arrived at the scene to find the car, with “Just Married” written on the back window — a grim reminder of the weight of the situation.
“My heart goes out to him today,” Thomas said. “And I’m going to pray that he’s going to be able to stand up to what he’s going to be up against.”
For Dobson family friend Patsy Jordan, the nightmare all involved in the tragedy are enduring can’t get much worse.
“It’s just hard to even grasp the words to say,” said Jordan, who is also a Cherokee School Board member. “It’s like reliving this all over again. My heart is broken for his family and her family.”
Jordan had known Dobson since she was a child, but doesn’t personally know Quinton.
“I do know that they love him,” she said, referring to Dobson’s family.