U-R update

EATONTON, Ga. — Separate one-vehicle crashes in Georgia’s Lake Country have claimed the lives of two people in the last several days, local and state law enforcement authorities say.

The latest crash happened early Sunday on Lower Harmony Road in Putnam County. The wreck took the life of a Morgan County woman and left her husband in critical condition, according to Putnam County Sheriff Howard R. Sills.

The victim killed was identified as Julie Leigh Simpson, of the 600 block of Billups Avenue, Madison, Sills said.

Putnam County Coroner Hollis Harrison said Deputy Coroner Andre Williams pronounced Simpson dead at the scene.

The victim died of blunt force trauma, the coroner said.

The woman’s husband, Gabriel David Simpson, also of the 600 block of Billups Avenue, Madison, was treated at the scene by firefighters/first responders with Putnam County Fire Rescue and personnel with Putnam County Emergency Medical Services. He later was taken by ambulance to Piedmont Regional Hospital in Athens.

Sills said Gabriel Simpson had been driving a 2021 Subaru Forrester along Lower Harmony Road near Harmony Road.

Evidence at the location indicated they were probably going toward U.S. Highway 441 and lost control as they entered a sharp curve at Lower Harmony Road and subsequently overturned, Sills said.

The accident was discovered by Putnam County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Patrick Isbell, who happened to be on routine patrol in that area at the time. The deputy spotted the wreck shortly before 4:30 a.m.

Sills said the crash remained under investigation Monday.

It marked the second fatal crash in Putnam County in less than two weeks. The first one happened earlier this month and left a 75-year-old Milledgeville woman dead following a head-on collision on Pea Ridge Road near Oconee Springs Road.

The victim in that collision was identified as Linda Kelley, of Bill Johnson Road. Kelley’s husband, meanwhile, Mary Elizabeth Kelley, 63, of the same address, was seriously injured and flown by medial helicopter to Atrium Health Navicent – The Medical Center in Macon.

The driver of the other vehicle involved in that same collision was also slightly injured. Sills said Juan Alvarez-Cruz, of Milledgeville, was driving drunk at the time. He since has been charged with a number of offenses, including vehicular homicide in the first degree and driving under the influence. He is being held in the Putnam County Jail in Eatonton.

In an unrelated traffic mishap, a 25-year-old Lithonia man was killed last Thursday afternoon following a single-car crash on Interstate 20 in Morgan County.

The victim was identified as Devonte Abner, of the 6400 block of Alford Way, according to Sgt. Nic B. Carter of the Georgia State Patrol Post in Madison.

Carter said the fatal wreck happened at 4:35 p.m. on the westbound side of the interstate highway, near mile marker 121.

Abner was driving a 2015 Honda Civic.

Carter said Abner, who was the lone occupant in the car, failed to maintain lane and drove into the center median. The car then traveled between the guardrail on the westbound side and the cable barrier on the eastbound side.

The ranking state trooper said the car then traveled through the median for about 1,000 feet in what was described as a straight line before the car struck a concrete bridge pier that helps support the Seven Islands Road overpass.

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