A 20-year-old McDuffie County man was killed instantly in a head-on collision Sunday night on the Wrens Highway and left several others in critical condition.
Steven Wilson, of 2824 Augusta Highway, was pronounced dead at 10:05 p.m., according to McDuffie County Coroner Rhusha Mack. An autopsy was performed at the Georgia Crime Lab in DeKalb County on Monday found that Mr. Wilson died as a result of blunt force injuries to the head and body, Mr. Mack said.
Mr. Wilson, a 2006 graduate of Thomson High School, was the driver of a green Saturn that collided with a Jeep Cherokee driven by Eric Hannah, 18, of Thomson, according to Georgia State Patrol Trooper Ben Rollins. The car remained in the roadway following the impact of the collision, while the Jeep flipped down an embankment. Both vehicles were extensively damaged in the crash which occurred around 9:40 p.m.
Mr. Hannah, who was preparing to move to Massachusetts to play junior college football at Dean College, remained in critical condition on Tuesday, according to a spokeswoman at the Medical College of Georgia Hospital in Augusta. He reportedly was returning from a trip to Thomson's Pizza Hut, having celebrated his mother's birthday.
At Jefferson County High School last season, Mr. Hannah was an All-Area selection and an honorable mention on the Class AA All-State Football Team by the Georgia Sportswriters Association.
Two other victims remained in critical condition also at MCG on Tuesday. They included Crystal Williams, 16, of Thomson, a junior at Thomson High School and 1-year-old Alicia Kelly, of Wrens, one of five passengers in the Jeep.
Several of the victims had to be airlifted by helicopter from the scene of the crash, which occurred about two and a half miles south of Thomson. The victims were all taken to MCG.
Sgt. First Class Jason Johnson, commander of the Georgia State Patrol post in Thomson, identified the other victims in the Jeep as Shirley Kelly, 39; Erica Hannah, 21; Ashley Kelly, 15; and Bridgett Smith. The medical conditions of those three victims ranged from fair to good on Tuesday.
Details of the collision still are not being released, pending further investigation by members of the Georgia State Patrol's reconstruction team. Trooper Ben Rollins is involved in the ongoing investigation, as is Trooper First Class Scott Smith of Gainesville - a member of the state patrol's reconstructive team which handles fatality collisions.
"It could be several days before we can release those details," Sgt. Johnson said.
Traffic along the busy Wrens Highway had to be detoured for more than three hours, while the wreckage could be probed and cleared. Deputies with the McDuffie County Sheriff's Department and officers with the Thomson Police Department assisted in diverting motorists away from the wreck scene.
A number of emergency personnel from the McDuffie County Emergency Medical Services and firefighters/first responders with the McDuffie County Fire Services/Rescue responded to the two-vehicle crash.