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Toxicology Screen Still Pending in Wreck that Killed 2 Brothers

The Law Office of George O. Haskell Dec. 22, 2017

New details have been released by authorities with the Georgia State Patrol (GSP) regarding the fatal accident last month that claimed the lives of two Georgia Southern University brothers.

On Nov. 26, the 18- and 20-year-old university students were headed east on Interstate 16. As they traveled through Laurens County near mile marker 34, their Saturn L200 was hit head-on when a wrong-way driver in a westbound Toyota Avalon crashed into them in the inside eastbound lane.

To determine the sequence of events surrounding the crash and establish liability, the GSP’s Specialized Collision Reconstruction Team (SCRT) investigated the collision.

The recently-released police report alleges that the 27-year-old Sandy Springs man behind the wheel of the Toyota had been traveling the wrong way down the interstate for roughly five miles. The report stated, “There was no evidence . . . (of the Avalon) crossing the median nor penetrating the cable barrier . . . The nearest roadway with access ramps to Interstate 16 are east of the crash location approximately five miles (at) Ga. 26.”

The narrative described how the Avalon crashed into the Saturn “front to front.” Following the high-speed impact, the Saturn landed in the inside lane alongside the highway divider facing eastward. It then burst into flames. Both brothers died at the scene.

The Toyota wound up perpendicular across the two eastbound lanes, facing north. The injured driver was treated at Navicent Heath Hospital for his injuries.

The allegedly at-fault driver was not thought by police to be impaired from drinking. However, they reported that he appeared under the influence of an unknown drug. As is police protocol in highway fatalities, the driver submitted a blood sample. The results of the testing have not yet been released.

Pending the outcome of the toxicology tests and the SCRT accident probe, the Avalon driver could face various criminal charges. The trooper heading the investigation will confer with the district attorney or other prosecuting authority and decide which charges are appropriate, if any are warranted.

The Georgia civil courts are another venue where accident victims’ survivors can seek justice. They may file wrongful death litigation irrespective of whether at-fault drivers were ever arrested or convicted on criminal charges stemming from the negligent act(s) that caused — or contributed to — the victims’ deaths.