May 8, 2013

Tunnel Hill wreck kills one (Updated 1:30 p.m.)

Rachel Brown
rachelbrown@daltoncitizen.com

— A 62-year-old Tunnel Hill resident was killed less than four miles from his home after another vehicle crossed the center lane about 6 a.m. today and collided with his vehicle, officials said.

Georgia State Patrol Cpl. Kris Hemphill said John David Wilson died at the scene. Hemphill said Wilson was in a 1996 Toyota 4Runner driving south on Ga. Highway 41 near Cottonwood Mill Road when a 1994 Ford pickup truck traveling north that was being driven by a 16-year-old crossed the center lane and came into Wilson’s lane where the two vehicles hit head on.

The teen’s identity is being withheld because of his age, but Hemphill said he is a Rocky Face resident. He sustained visible injuries but is expected to be OK, Hemphill said. Authorities don’t believe alcohol was involved, and they aren’t sure why the truck crossed into oncoming traffic.

“At this point in time, all we know is the Ford truck crossed the center lane — the turn lane — and into the opposing lane and struck the Toyota in the left front with its left front,” Hemphill said. “We don’t really know (why it happened). I think (the teen) made the statement he didn’t remember what happened.”

The road was closed for about two hours while a Specialized Collision Reconstruction Team (SCRT) mapped the area. The team’s report could take about six months, Hemphill said. When it’s finished, it will be turned over to the district attorney, who will decide whether to press charges.

Hemphill said there’s a strong possibility the case will go through the juvenile system if there are any charges. Officials don’t know yet how fast the vehicles were traveling.

A third vehicle became involved after the initial crash when it hit the Ford truck that came to rest in one of the travel lanes, Hemphill said. He said a Dodge truck “clipped” the Ford after the driver didn’t see it.