Articles Posted in Car Accident

Ben Tucker, a well known jazz musician in Savannah, died tragically in a car accident this week. The passing of this well known Georgia musician is a sobering reminder of the prevalence of accidents on the roadway. These incidents do not discriminate, and the reality is that anyone can be caught in a serious auto accident anytime they are in a vehicle. crash.jpg

Earlier in his career, the 82 year old musician played with stars like Quincy Jones and Peggy Lee and jazz legends like Dexter Gordon and Buddy Rich, and was still playing music in Savannah until his tragic death.

Mr. Tucker was known for playing an upright base, which he claimed was 240 years old and which he named “Bertha”. During Mr. Tucker’s career, he wrote songs, the most well known of which is “Comin’ Home Baby”. He had settled in Savannah in the 1970s, according to news reports, and is known and loved around town. He used to own two local radio stations, WSOK-AM and WLVH-FM. Mr. Tucker played at area weddings, jazz festivals, nightclubs, and even at bar mitzvahs. Friends said that people often came to greet him on the street and wanted to shake his hand, and many asserted he was one of the nicest people they knew, always happy to get involved in charity or help friends.

It is incredibly sad and frustrating when there are deaths and injuries that are completely unnecessary.For example, our Atlanta car accident attorneys ( recently read a tragic story involving entirely preventable death that occured last week, about a foolish street race that killed a young man and an infant boy.

Last Friday morning, 22 year old Kyrie Alassen Anderson was driving her Honda Accord on I-20 westbound near Conyers, about 25 miles outside Atlanta. She and boyfriend, 19 year old Edi Rodriguez, were taking her seven month old son Hunter to visit friends, having left her older son, three year old Blake, with a babysitter.

According to the police reports, Anderson started racing with another vehicle on the road. At some point, Anderson lost control of her car, hit a guardrail, and went back across two westbound lanes, where the Accord was hit by Chevy Silverado pickup truck.

During this holiday season, our Atlanta car accident attorneys are, like many Americans, looking back at the past year and forward to next year. We saw one recent article that gave a roundup of the car accidents in a particular Georgia county, Forsyth County, for 2012. This week the 22nd person died in a vehicle accident in that county. Kathryn Dodd was not wearing a seatbelt and died when her 2005 Nissan Maxima veered off the road and hit a tree, throwing her from the vehicle.

Unfortunately, the number of traffic deaths has been increasing year by year. In 2010, the county had 12 road fatalities. In 2011, there were 17. This year, 22 fatalities and 2012 is not over yet. So far, six of the deaths have been due to not wearing a seatbelt, five to bad weather conditions, and five more to alcohol or drugs.

Sheriff Sergeant, Chris Sheldon said most vehicle fatalities were due to driving at high speeds on low speed or rural roads. One of the most dangerous areas wasn’t on Ga. 400, but in an area known as Dawsonville Highway, which is officially Highway 53. Officer Sheldon noted that while the higher speed and bigger roads often have fender benders, the low speed in traffic keeps the accidents generally non-serious, while high speed accidents on twisting rural roads are often more deadly.

Vehicle accidents don’t stop for the holidays, unfortunately. Our Atlanta car accident attorneys know that dangerous drivers are on the road all year long.

A recent story showed just this, and now a family is going through a terrible holiday season without a loved one. At the end of November, just around the Thanksgiving holiday, Mariah Myers, a 23-year-old graduate student at Albany State University, was driving with her mother, Claudia Myers, in rural McIntosh County. Mariah graduated with her Bachelor’s degree in 2011 and was studying for a Master’s degree in early childhood education, and she was supposed to graduate in just a few months. She worked as a pre-kindergarten teacher at Baby World Daycare Center. She was also involved in her church and community, acting as vice-president of Albany State University’s Gospel Choir, and volunteered with Habitat for Humanity and as a mentor for Divine Visions. She also led a Girl Scout troop and was enthusiastic about helping young women. The Dean of Education, Kimberly Suress Gaiters-Fields, stated of Mariah ,”She was very nurturing, caring, and held high expectations for her students.”

But on that night, just before 7pm, the week of Thanksgiving, Mariah was involved in a head-on collision as she was driving west on Highway 99 between Briar Patch and Eulonia. She died at the scene. Her mother was seriously injured and taken by ambulance to Memorial University Medical Center in Savannah.

Our Atlanta car accident attorneys know that this the busiest travel weekend of the year in the U.S. This makes it even more important to drive carefully and vigilantly as you are going to and coming home from your Thanksgiving weekend plans. Even if you are staying close to home this weekend, the intense rush of Black Friday shoppers and other drivers getting to and from destinations can pose extra risk.

On Tuesday the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety launched “Operation: Safe Holidays” to kick off the holiday season across the state, trying to stem the increasing number of road accidents this year and emphasie safe travel. This year, 2012, is set to become the first year in five years where the number of road accidents in Georgia will increase, rather than decrease. That is why the state is focusing on a 41-day awareness campaign aimed at reducing the car crash rate through the end of the year.

One person at the launch came with a very personal message for Georgians about road safety. Alex Sorohan talked about her older brother Caleb, who was killed in an accident in December 2009. Caleb was sending a text message while driving when he distractedly swerved into another lane where a car hit him head on, killing him instantly. Alex’s family lobbied the Georgia government and got legislation enacted in 2010 that bans texting while driving. The law is called Caleb’s Law. It bans writing, sending, and receiving text messages, and also includes doing these things while stopped at stop signs and red lights. Officials also note that you cannot program your GPS while you are driving either.

Our Atlanta car accident attorneys know that one of the worst things about reckless and negligent driving is that the driver is not only hurting, or even killing, him or herself, but also endangering the lives of innocent people who must share the road with them.

A terrible example of this occured in Glynn County this week, according to news reports. A Glynn County cop, Carl Evans, saw a car just west of I-95 in Brunswick. The car matched descriptions of one seen in the area around the time of recent auto burglaries and the driving was suspicious. Officer Evans shone a light into the car and the driver appeared to be asleep at the wheel. The flashlight woke her, and she pulled onto Perry Lane Road. The officer suspected criminal activity, however, and followed the Toyota Corolla, driven by 29-year-old Candice Lynn Smith, after it turned onto Spur 25. Officer Evans turned on his emergency lights and siren to pull her over, but Ms. Smith sped up to almost 100 miles per hour.

The police chase of Ms. Smith’s Corolla continued for four miles, passing two other cars without incident. As she approached the intersection at Cypress Mill the light was red, but turned to green just before her car reached it. An ambulance, with no lights on, was stopped at the light and just starting to move forward in the right lane. Ms. Smith didn’t brake and slammed into the right rear of the ambulance at about 12:58am early Tuesday morning. Glynn County Police Chief, Matt Doering, said that the left lane was empty at the time, and Ms. Smith could have easily passed the ambulance, but did not. He said, “She just ran into it, just nailed it. It was a very intense crash.” The video of the crash seemed to show that Ms. Smith considered passing but was indecisive in the crucial final moment. Police discovered two open bottles of alcohol in the car, a partially smoked marijuana joint, and prescription pills, which may explain the erratic behavior and the chase.

Recently a school bus and a car were involved in an accident in the town of Marietta, Georgia, on a Friday morning when kids were heading to school. Vehicle accidents involving children and school buses are always scary for parents (see a previous post on a Georgia school bus accident), and drivers always have to be extra careful and vigilant around school buses. schoolbus.jpeg

This accident occurred, according to news reports, because a 2001 Acura 3.2 TL driven by Bhavani Saride, 36-years-old and of Smyrna, failed to yield when turning left at about 7:15am at the intersection of Polk Street and the North Marietta Parkway. The school bus, number 91-12, was headed to Marietta High School with 37 students on board. The car carried a 12-year-old seventh grade Marietta Middle School student who was critically injured when the school bus t-boned the car on the passenger side where the boy was sitting. Marietta police spokesman, David Baldwin, said the boy’s injuries were life threatening and he was air lifted to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Scottish Rite. 13 high school students on the school bus, as well as the bus driver, were also taken to a nearby hospital, although none with serious injuries. Two students were taken to WellStar Kennestone by ambulance and the other 11, with minor injuries, by another bus. The bus driver was also taken to WellStar Kennestone. All of the high school students and the driver were released from the hospital the same day. The young, critically injured student, whose name was not released because he is a minor, was released two days later. According to Mr. Baldwin, he had “some fractured bones and internal bruising, but no head injury.”

The mother driving the car has been cited for failure to yield. The school bus driver, Bonnie Lea Banks, is being cited by the district for her actions to minimize the damage of the accident. Mark Lindstrum, the district’s director of transportation, said, “We want to recognize (Banks) for doing the right thing and that’s driving defensively.” Mr. Lindstrum also noted that the badly injured 12-year-old could have died if things had gone differently. Ms. Banks, who is 57-years-old, has twenty years experience driving a school bus. Mr. Lindstrum told reporters, “A car usually doesn’t win against a school bus. The kids were doing the right thing and the bus driver was paying attention to the road, which is critical.” She also returned to work driving buses last Wednesday.

Another tragic car accident has been in Georgia’s headlines in recent days. Atlanta R&B singer Natina Reed, a member of the female group Blaque, was hit and killed by a car late last Friday night. Ms. Reed is also known for her role in the popular teen movie “Bring it On”, which was released in 2000. Ms. Reed was born in New York City but moved to Atlanta when she was four years old and had been involved in modeling and acting since a young age. She attended Cedar Grove High School in DeKalb County. Her 33rd birthday would have been Sunday and friends said she had many plans, including a reunion with Blaque and a reality show. She also has a 10 year old son, Tren, with rapper Kurupt.


At the time of the accident, Ms. Reed was on Lawrenceville Highway (US 29) near Hamilton Road just north of Lilburn. Police say they received a call at about 10:30pm saying a woman had been hit by a red Honda Accord. When emergency staff arrived, CPR was performed on Ms. Reed and she was taken to Gwinnett Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead less than half an hour later. The police said they were unsure if Ms. Reed was walking across the road or standing by it at the time of the accident, but so far there are no indications that the driver was criminally at fault and no charges have been brought.

Other than the driver and passenger in the car involved there appear to be no other witnesses to the incident. Police spokesman, Sgt. Rich Long, said, “There is not really anything in that area that’s open at that time of night, that would be any kind of a draw to a person up there,” adding to the uncertainty of what happened.

Car accidents can create danger not only to other cars, but also to more vulnerable forms of transportation- like motorcycles, scooters, and bicycles. Car accidents can also be incredibly dangerous for pedestrians, who have no protection against the car. Drivers of all kinds of vehicles need to take particular care of pedestrians especially in areas where people are likely to be walking. .

Another tragic accident occurred over the weekend, involving a Georgia’s police officer who was perhaps not sufficiently careful. Jaquess Harris, 26, was crossing the street early Sunday morning to go to Club Ciroc in Columbus when she was hit by Kelly MacDonell, 26, driving a Columbus police car. “Not only did she get hit, she got carried, and when the car stopped, it threw her,” said Ivan Kauffmann, an eyewitness to the accident. Ms. Harris died at the scene.

Mr. Kauffmann also said there were skid marks from the police cruiser at least 30 feet long, meaning the police car could not have been going the 30-35 mile per hour speed limit. Another source said there were 100 feet skid marks. Several other eyewitnesses said the cruiser driven by MacDonell was going very fast, but did not have the emergency lights on. The cruiser’s windshield was shattered and the front bumper dented from the accident, as well.

There are many different types of vehicles on our roads, and therefore, many different types of vehicle accidents. This blog has discussed accidents involving cars, tractor trailers, motorcycles, scooters, and bicycles, but in the rural parts of Georgia, it is not uncommon to see a farm tractor on the road. Drivers of tractors can also be vulnerable to road accidents, particularly due to differences in speed, inability to make sharp turns, and decreased visibility.

Accidents usually occur when a car is trying to pass these slow moving vehicles. Often motorists think the tractor is moving to the side of the road to let them pass, but really they are trying to make a wide left turn. The Georgia Farm Bureau states, on its website, regarding slow moving vehicles, like farm tractors, on the road, “Patience is one of the best ways to avoid a collision. Even if you have to follow a tractor for two miles at 20 miles per hour, it only takes six minutes of your time. That’s about the same as waiting for two red lights in town. When you find yourself behind a slow-moving vehicle, wait until you can safely pass.” tractoryield.jpeg

Recently, according to news reports, an elderly Rockmart man, Charles E. Mears, was injured after his John Deere farm tractor, complete with attached trailer, was hit by a car on Georgia Highway 278, according to officials from the Georgia State Patrol. The accident happened around 10:15am near the Cowboy’s convenience store. The car, a 2004 Hyundai Sonata, was driven by Olivia McVadon of Cedartown. She told police that she turned to answer a question from her daughter, seated in the backseat, and that is when she hit the tractor. The impact caused Mr. Mears to fall off his tractor, which continued to travel back and forth across the road until it hit a ditch. Mr. Mears was taken to the hospital for his injuries.