An Atlanta lawyer is behind bars after police say he intentionally rammed his car into a man, killing him, after claiming the man threw a golf ball at his car.
According to prosecutors, 60-year-old Hamid Jahangard accidentally hit 48-year-old corporate lawyer Bryan Schmitt’s 2011 Mercedes CLS550 with a golf ball on July 30, AJC reports. Schmitt, who was indicted Friday on murder and aggravated assault charges, claimed he was the one who accidentally hit the victim in an unavoidable accident.
Prosecutors, however, said security footage told a different account than what Schmitt claimed.
When paramedics arrived at the scene, they found Jahangard lying unconscious, off of the 300 block of River Valley Road in Sandy Springs. First responders rushed the man to the hospital but he passed away three days later. An autopsy report revealed the man had a “massive skull fracture” and died from blunt force trauma to the head.
Schmitt said initially that he was driving home when he saw a man near a green trash can, according to police. Schmitt reportedly said he then saw Jahangard, someone he had never met before, make a throwing motion with his arm, then saw a white object smash into his vehicle.
Police said that Schmitt claimed he made a U-turn and pulled into a driveway to confront the man, but Jahangard yelled at him and threw a trash can at his car, causing him to swerve. Schmitt said he lost control of the Mercedes and hit Jahangard.
“I was driving home northeast on River Valley. Around 5:15, a man was standing by (the) side of road next to trash cans. He made a throwing motion with his arm, and I saw a white object strike my car,” Schmitt reportedly told detectives, according to court documents.
“I rolled down my (window) to ask why he’d throw something at my car. He yelled at me to ‘(expletive)! It’s none of your business!’ When I attempted to pull into the driveway he pushed a trash can at me. I swerved to right to miss it and ended up hitting a second trash can. When I came to stop, he was lying on the other side of the first trash can.”
According to a criminal complaint, investigators obtained security footage from a neighborhood camera on August 5, several days after the incident. Yet, the video was partially obscured and didn’t capture the full incident. On August 8, authorities received footage taken from air conditioning service van that was traveling behind Schmitt’s car and caught the incident on camera.
Investigator J.T. Williams noted that Schmitt’s statements didn’t match what he saw on the security footage.
“Schmitt’s vehicle plows into the driveway and is not the type of driving for someone to ‘turn around,’ ‘swerve to miss a garbage can,’” Williams reportedly said. “The speed used to vault the garbage can, lift the front end of his car up and to slam the victim down so hard it causes a massive skull fracture … is not an accident.”
“Victim walking down driveway, standing at the bottom to the right where the garbage can were. Bryan Schmitt drives by, as he passes the driveway, he hits his brake. Schmitt pulls back up and remains stationary for 25 seconds. Two cars pass him on the wrong side of the road and he quickly makes a left and starts to accelerate. You can’t see impact. Victim Hamid (Jahangard) is slammed to the ground, head bounces twice off pavement and his body is rotating.”
Records indicate that Jahangard was the owner of the home at 318 River Valley Road. His brother told the police he was on the phone with Jahangard during the time of the incident when the line went dead. Prosecutors said that there was no way the victim could have thrown a heavy trash can at the suspect while holding a phone and talking to his brother.
The brother said he heard Jahangard say, “I did not throw anything, get out my face, get out my face,” before the line went dead, according to court records.
The victim’s brother also reportedly said Jahangard was outside waiting for painters to arrive when the incident happened. Authorities later found Jahangard’s cellphone lodged into the windshield of Schmitt’s car. They also found a golf ball near the scene but noted that there was no damage from a golf ball to Schmitt’s car.
According to Atlanta’s Channel 2 Action News, a witness, who is a nurse, told police she although she didn’t see the actual incident, she saw the suspect trying to pull Jahangard from underneath his car. She said she told Schmitt to stop and wait for paramedics to arrive.
On August 12, Schmitt surrendered to police. He was booked into the Fulton County jail without bond.
Jahangard, who earned a masters’ degree in civil engineering from Georgia Tech, had two daughters who lost their mother the year prior, according to his obituary.
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[Feature Photo: Bryan Schmitt/Police Handout]