Body found in ditch identified as 31-year-old Macon man

A man whose body was found face-down in a ditch in south Macon on Tuesday was identified as 31-year-old Ian Andrew Nichols, Macon-Bibb County Coroner Leon Jones said.

Nichols, of Houston Road, lived about three miles away from where his body was discovered just after noon.

A resident of 4041 Jones Road who didn’t want to be named said he’d walked outside to check the weather and something caught his eye.

“I thought it was a tire,” he said. “I walked over there and saw it was a body.”

The ditch where the body was found is across the street from Windsor Academy. Jones Road was blocked while investigators worked the scene.

Kim Christie was on her way to pick up her parents for lunch when she saw their neighbors gathered near the crime scene.

“It’s very weird,” she said. “He is very oddly situated in the ditch. ... You can’t see his face. He looks to be a middle aged white male, dark hair.”

Christie said there was no visible trauma to Nichols’s body.

An autopsy is set for Wednesday to determine the cause of death, the coroner said.

About eight years ago, just about a mile away from where his body was found, Nichols was under the influence of alcohol and marijuana when he collided with another car, killing 21-year-old Brittney Higdon there at the intersection of Hartley Bridge and School roads.

At the time of the May 17, 2008, crash, Nichols, a delivery man for Domino’s Pizza, was driving west in a 1997 Chevrolet Lumina when he crossed the center line, crashing head-on with Higdon’s 1996 Honda Accord about 11 p.m. that night, according to Telegraph archives.

His blood-alcohol content measured 0.122.

Nichols pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide in 2009 and was sentenced to eight years in prison plus seven years on probation.

In 2010, Higdon’s family filed a wrongful death suit in which they were awarded $6.65 million to compensate for pain and suffering, medical and funeral bills, the value of Higdon’s car and other non-economic damages.

It was unclear Tuesday night when Nichols was released from jail.

Telegraph writer Amy Leigh Womack contributed to this report.

Laura Corley: 478-744-4334, @Lauraecor