The Union Recorder


July 8, 2014

Busy holiday weekend local law enforcement

MILLEDGEVILLE — The number of fatalities occurring on Georgia roads during the Fourth of July travel period increased significantly compared to last year's totals.

The 78-hour holiday period began at 6 p.m. on Thursday and ended at midnight on Sunday.

Georgia State Patrol Post 33 covering Baldwin, Jones, Hancock and Washington counties had busy Independence Day enforcement as well, though no accidents resulted in fatalities.

During this period, troopers conducted concentrated patrols and road checks.

Post 33 troopers saw 11 accidents resulting in six injuries. Area GSP had 251 vehicle stops, five DUIs, delivered 218 warnings and wrote 82 citations.

The post covered a bad wreck in Washington County involving six unrestrained juveniles. An infant was airlifted to Augusta for treatment and  upgraded Monday to stable condition, according to GSP.

According to information from the Georgia Department of Public Safety, the holiday travel weekend ended with 11 fatalities in the state, more than double the travel weekend total in 2013, which was five. Out of the 11 deaths, GSP investigated four fatalities and seven were investigated by law enforcement agencies in Gwinnett, DeKalb and Cobb County.   

Locally Troopers dealt with a high-speed chase on Ga. Highway 24 in Washington County as well. The driver and passenger fled the scene after crashing near Davisboro. Officials hadn't apprehended the suspects at presstime Monday.

Also, two golf cart wrecks occurred in Washington and Hancock County.

Mirroring statewide statistics, the GSP Post 33 holiday report numbers were also up significantly from last year.

In a longer period, trooper saw five accidents with no injuries and made 169 vehicle stops. DUIs were the same one year ago.

Last year, statewide, GSP troopers issued 9,849 citations, 18,477 warnings, and made 359 DUI arrests.

In 2013, the holiday period was 102 hours long, accompanied by a series of rain showers and storms. With better weather conditions during this Fourth of July, more people were out on the roads and on the lake, noted Ranger Matthew Johnson of the Department of Natural Resources.

"Overall, it was a very busy weekend, busier than we've seen in the past, and especially busier than last year. We had a bunch of rain to deal with last year and we just didn't have a lot of people out on the lake. This year the weather was nice and with the holiday falling on a Friday, we saw a lot more activity than in previous years," Johnson said.

DNR issued four boating under the influence citations and investigated two boating wrecks on the water.

One boating accident, occurring on the holiday between 9:30 and 9:45 p.m. involved a boat crashing into another vessel.

"One of our BUI citations was issued in the incident that happened on the Fourth," Johnson said. "Our investigation revealed that the operator of the boat was intoxicated, which contributed to the wreck."

The second accident took place Sunday, at about 1:15 p.m.

"The wreck involved jet skis and resulted in minor injuries," he said.

A juvenile female involved in the accident was transported to the Oconee Regional Medial Center for treatment of her injuries.

Local law enforcement agencies for Milledgeville and Baldwin County had no DUI citations or fatalities to report for the holiday travel period.

"We had no DUI citations this year, although we had several suspended licenses cases," said Capt. Michael Lumpkin.

The sheriff's office issued a total of 95 citations during the travel period, most of which were for speeding, added Maj. Lynnette LaRocque.

Maj. John Davis, patrol commander with the Milledgeville Police Department, said a majority of citations issued during the Fourth of July travel period involved driving while unlicensed and speeding.


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