Fatal crash

Summer Grace Matherly, 13, (left) and her mother, Ashley Bales Reed, 35, seen in this photo taken from Facebook and both of Dearing, Ga., were killed when the SUV they were riding in collided with a tractor-trailer driven by a Milledgeville man near the Wilkinson-Laurens county line Monday morning. The trucker and four teenagers were all injured, two of whom remained in critical condition on Wednesday afternoon in a Macon hospital.

IRWINTON, Ga. — Four teen girls remained hospitalized in Macon Thursday, two in critical condition, following a Monday morning fiery crash between an SUV and a tractor-trailer truck that killed a woman and her youngest daughter, local and state authorities say.

The crash happened shortly after 9 a.m. at the intersection of Ga. Route 29 and Ga. Route 112, about two miles south of the Wilkinson-Laurens county line.

The wreck claimed the lives of Ashley Bales Reed, 35, and her 13-year-old daughter, Summer Grace Matherly, both of the 3900 block of Culberth Road, Dearing, Ga., according to a report filed by Trooper Dwayne Porter of the Georgia State Patrol post in Dublin.

Reed worked as a court specialist with the Georgia Department of Community Supervision office in Augusta. She worked within Superior Courts in Augusta-Richmond County, as well as in Columbia and Burke counties.

Funerals for the victims were still incomplete as of Thursday. Beggs Funeral Home in Thomson is in charge of all arrangements.

The wreck report was made available to the press Wednesday afternoon.

Both victims were pronounced dead at the scene by Wilkinson County Coroner Billy Matthews.

Reed was traveling west on Ga. Route 112 in a 2005 Chevrolet Tahoe, while the tractor-trailer truck, driven by Darryl Finnel Cummings, of the 2400 block of River Ridge Road, N.E., Milledgeville, was traveling south on Ga. Route 29, Porter said.

Cummings, who was driving a 2012 Freighliner Coronado SD122, sustained slight injuries yet managed to assist in helping free the four teenage girls from the rear window of the SUV, according to Matthews.

Two other men also assisted in the dramatic rescue. One of those men was Jerry Adams, who serves as the code enforcement officer in Wilkinson County, and another was an unidentified state corrections officer. Adams performed life-saving measures on one of the critically injured teens, Matthews told The Union-Recorder. 

Among those injured was Chloe Matherly, 18, of the 3900 block of Culbert Road, Dearing. Matherly is Reed’s oldest daughter. She remained in critical condition Thursday at The Medical Center Navicent Health in Macon.

Another one of Reed’s relatives injured in the crash was her stepdaughter, Somer Reed, 14, also of the 3900 block of Culbert Road, Dearing.

The other two victims were identified as Trinity Fredericks, 17, of the 700 block of George McDuffie Road, Dearing; and Emily Law, 13, of Appling, Ga. 

Fredericks, like Chloe Matherly, also remained in critical condition at the Macon hospital Thursday afternoon.

The state trooper who investigated the crash said in his report that Reed stopped at the intersection of Ga. Route 29 and proceeded through to the paved median. Reed’s SUV continued traveling until it entered the path of the tractor-trailer truck.

Reed’s Tahoe struck the tractor-trailer in the right side with its front bumper, Porter said. The truck, meanwhile, then traveled approximately 157 feet while braking before striking a ditch on the west shoulder of the roadway. Cummings’ truck then came to an uncontrolled rest in the ditch, facing south, about 24 feet from the edge of the roadway.

After impact with the truck, Reed’s Tahoe was pushed by the truck approximately 148 feet before the SUV came to an uncontrolled rest facing west, about 18 feet from the edge of the roadway.

The Tahoe and the tractor-trailer truck then caught fire, Porter said.

Matthews told the newspaper that the SUV’s gas tank was ruptured in the crash, which started the fire.

A witness told the investigating state trooper that he saw Reed’s SUV stopped at the stop sign and that at the time he saw Cummings traveling southbound on state Route 29. The state trooper said the witness told him that Reed’s SUV had moved slowly through the intersection, but did not stop as she continued into the path of the truck.

Porter said Cummings also told him that he saw Reed stop and that he believed she saw him approaching the intersection. Cummings said it appeared to him that Reed had slowly entered the paved median waiting for him to pass, but at the last minute tried to cross the intersection, according to the wreck report.

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