Family vacation ends with father dead, son jailed in I-75 killing

An Alabama family of eight was on the way back from a Florida vacation when a feud between father and son allegedly led to homicide.

Daniel Lee Young, 40, of Birmingham, was riding in the front passenger seat of a rented Ford Expedition as his wife was driving through Peach County late Tuesday night, said J.T. Ricketson, special agent in charge of the Perry investigative office of the GBI.

Young’s two adult sons, including Deontae Leqwan Young, 21, also of Birmingham, his three young daughters and his girlfriend were in the back of the SUV, Ricketson said.

Just after 11:30 p.m. Tuesday, 911 received a call about a person shot on Interstate 75 just past the Byron exit, near mile marker 151, which is in Peach County Sheriff Terry Deese’s jursidiction.

“(Deontae Young) and his family were coming through from Orlando and he and his father got into some sort of altercation,” Deese said Monday morning. “Apparently the father had been drinking pretty heavily that day.”

Through witness interviews, investigators learned the dispute between father and son began in Florida and they continued to argue on the way back.

According to witnesses, Daniel Young reportedly told his wife to pull over in the emergency lane.

“The father comes over the seat, hitting the son who pulled out a pistol and shot him there at the side of the interstate,” Deese said.

Ricketson said Daniel Young had come around to the driver’s side of the car right before the shooting.

“Deontae fired at least two rounds and struck Daniel in the upper chest area,” Ricketson said. “He fell out into the road.”

Deontae Young’s girlfriend and the mother of two of the three children under five in the car, called authorities.

When Byron police officer Robert Boutwell arrived, Daniel Young was lying in the right lane of the highway with his wife kneeling beside him, Ricketson said.

Boutwell and the victim’s sons got him off the highway and the officer continued CPR until EMS arrived, but couldn’t save him, Ricketson said.

Peach County Coroner Kerry Rooks pronounced Young dead at 12:05 a.m. Wednesday morning at the side of the highway.

The GBI was called to the scene some time after midnight and began the crime scene investigation and interviewing those involved.

Deontae Young was taken into custody, but was not charged with murder until Thursday morning, according to jail records.

Ricketson said it will be up to the district attorney as to whether Deontae Young acted in self defense.

“The warrant is based on the information we have,” he said. “We had one person who caused the death of another.”

Liz Fabian: 478-744-4303, @liz_lines