Northside grad killed on I-75 by wrong-way driver

An Air Force colonel and Northside High School graduate was killed Sunday morning by a wrong-way driver on Interstate 75 in Atlanta.

Col. Stephen Mittuch, commander of the 419th Maintenance Group at Hill Air Force Base in Utah, was 46.

Mittuch was in metro Atlanta this weekend for a seminar near Dobbins Air Force Base. As he headed for the airport in a taxi Sunday morning, a car going the wrong way on the interstate struck the taxi, according to the Georgia State Patrol.

The patrol suspects alcohol was involved and is running tests, a patrol spokesman said. The cab driver, Okafor Chukwuekwu, and the woman driving the wrong way, Tricia Truatt of Acworth, were taken to Grady Hospital in Atlanta, and were listed in stable condition Sunday evening, according to WSB, an Atlanta television station.

Mittuch grew up in the Warner Robins area, attending middle and high school there. His sister Patricia Mittuch-Compton said he grew up on the family farm, where they grew pecans and hay and raised cows and pigs.

Mittuch’s parents and two sisters still live in the area. He has a brother who is also an Air Force colonel, stationed in Germany. Mittuch lived in Utah with his wife, Cinde.

“I always called him my baby boy,” his mother, Eileen Mittuch said Monday. “He didn’t like it.”

Mittuch graduated from Northside High School in 1980, according to his father, Eugene Mittuch. He graduated from the University of Georgia and went on a Peace Corps mission to the Philippines before joining the Air Force.

Eugene Mittuch is retired from the Air Force, and said he “thought it was great” that his sons followed him into the military.

“He was an avid churchgoer,” Eugene Mittuch said of his late son. “Very active in his church. Dearly loved the Air Force.”

McCullough Funeral Home in Warner Robins will handle local funeral arrangements, which were incomplete as of Monday evening.

To contact writer Travis Fain, call 361-2702.