Mother of 3 killed after being hit by Floyd County man who police say had drugs on him

A Floyd County woman was killed last week while walking on the side of the road by a man who had methamphetamine with him when he was arrested.

Amanda Harris, 41, was walking on the side of Woods Road on Wednesday, March 20 at about 5:39 p.m. when she was struck and killed by a reckless driver.

According to the Floyd County Sheriff’s Office, Christopher Gunnells was driving south on Woods Road and left the roadway, traveling across both lanes and hit and killed Harris, a mother of three.

[DOWNLOAD: Free WSB-TV News app for alerts as news breaks]

Channel 2′s Michael Doudna spoke with the victim’s family Thursday on WSB Tonight at 11 p.m.

“She was the light of my life,” Steve Harris, Amanda’s dad, said.

Amanda was a mother of three teenagers. Her family says she always had a smile and was a fierce defender of her family.

“Her being there for the kids, her laughing and smiling, that’s gone now,” Emily Harris, Amanda’s niece, said.

According to deputies, Gunnells said he reached for an item inside his vehicle which caused him to veer off the road and strike Harris.

When deputies took Gunnells to Atrium Health Floyd Medical Center, they said he claimed an item wasn’t his.

The deputy returned to the parking lot to search his vehicle and found a bag of suspected crystal meth beside his patrol vehicle.

“What I understand now is this should never have happened,” Amanda’s father said.

Gunnells is charged with possession of methamphetamine, first-degree homicide by vehicle, reckless driving, failure to maintain lane, and distracted driving.

As for the family, they wonder what is next for Amanda’s children.

“How are they going to survive? The only provider they had was their mother. Their father died in a car accident 15 years earlier,” Steve Harris said.

The father died in a car accident while he was visiting family in Latin America. The family says they will rally around the three orphaned teens but admit they need help.


“Those kids are hurting worse than I am. They will never see their momma again. I’ve lost a lot of people, the kids have never been to a funeral, I think. The first one they will have to go to will be tomorrow for their mother,” Steve said.

Harris’ niece, Emily, started a GoFundMe campaign to raise money to cover Amanda’s funeral and other expenses the family now faces.

As of Thursday, just over $1,100 of the $20,000 goal has been raised.

You can donate here.

[SIGN UP: WSB-TV Daily Headlines Newsletter]