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Drive safely!

Please drive careful!

McDuffie County has been the scene of three violent collisions of late.

As a newspaper reporter whose job it is to cover such breaking news stories, I admit it's difficult at times.

I confess that it's difficult sometimes, especially when the wrecks claim the life of someone.

I have lots of compassion for those who have lost loved ones in recent wrecks in McDuffie County. My heart goes out to the families of Steven Wilson and Chrystal Williams, as well as to the family of Marilyn "Betty" Campbell, who has become the latest traffic fatality in our county.

My prayers also go out to the families of Eric Hannah and Alicia Kelly, who remain in critical condition at an Augusta hospital. They were involved in the wreck that took the lives of Mr. Wilson and his girlfriend, Miss Williams, 16, a junior at Thomson High School.

Mrs. Campbell was in her first year as a music teacher at M.E. Freeman Elementary School in Warrenton. She died of injuries received in a head-on crash last Thursday with a tractor-trailer.

I extend my condolences to her family, as well as the school family she leaves behind.

Through the years as a reporter, I have covered dozens and dozens of terrible wrecks.

I have listened to state troopers explain how the wrecks occurred.

As with many things in life, every wreck is different. The violent ones - those that kill or leave injured crippled or in vegetative states of mind, are the ones that really get to me.

I know certain things happen and there's no way to prevent them.

On the other hand, I also have known many instances where such terrible wrecks could have been avoided.

The reason: one of two factors most often was the reason - either speed or being intoxicated by alcoholic beverages while behind the wheel.

Those kinds of mistakes can be deadly.

So, if you have a tendency to speed or drink and drive, I urge you to stop and think before you crank your vehicle and drive down the road.

It's too late after something tragic happens.

I believe strongly that we, as a society, can dramatically curtail such driving on Georgia highways, if those of us who call ourselves concerned motorists, simply would take a stance.

Get on your cell phones and notify the authorities or call the nearest post of the Georgia State Patrol to report dangerous drivers. If we take such a stance, we should feel proud of our actions. After all, we could be saving our own lives or the life of someone you know.

Remember to do the responsible thing, get involved, and report bad motorists.

Web posted on Thursday, August 30, 2007

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