Seven injured in Wednesday crash

Published 7:08 pm Friday, June 11, 2010

Seven people were injured late Wednesday afternoon when their minivan overturned off Georgia 309 South, according to the Georgia State Patrol.

The accident happened at about 5:30 p.m. Wednesday on Georgia 309 South, between its intersections with Green Shade and Bailey roads, about a mile south of the Fowlstown community.

A Hispanic man driving an Oldmobile Silhouette minivan southbound ran off the highway’s western shoulder and in an attempt to correct his steering, swerved across both lanes of the highway into a ditch off the eastern shoulder, said Cpl. Kyle Duke of the State Patrol’s Colquitt post.

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The minivan overturned twice in the ditch, ejecting at least one and possibly two passengers, before coming to rest with its front end partially in the roadway. The minivan had traveled about 60 yards from the point it ran into the ditch to the point it stopped, he said. The vehicle was totaled, with multiple windows broken out and its frame battered from the rollovers.

None of the minivan’s seven occupants—six adults and a 14-year-old boy—were wearing their seat belts, according to Duke, who investigated the crash along with Trooper First Class John Kirkus. With the help of a bilingual Sheriff’s deputy, Kirkus—who speaks Spanish—helped other emergency first responders, including EMS personnel and volunteer firefighters, talk with the accident victims about their injuries, Duke said.

All seven persons had visible head injuries, although none were life-threatening. All of them, including the driver, were taken by ambulance to Memorial Hospital in Bainbridge for treatment.

The minivan occupants initially stated a man who had been drinking had been driving and fled the scene, Duke said. However, after Trooper Brian Palmer followed up on the injured persons at the hospital, it was determined one of them—who was not intoxicated—was the driver. Upon being released from the hospital, the driver was to be arrested and charged with driving without a license and issued multiple citations for seat belt violations, Duke said.