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Separate crashes kill two

Separate vehicle crashes have killed two Thomson men -- one in Georgia and the other in South Carolina during the past week.

The latest crash, which occurred early Saturday in Warren County, killed 19-year-old Curtis Evans Jr., of the 500 block of Bussey Avenue, Thomson, according to Trooper First Class Rich Fishel of the Georgia State Patrol post in Thomson.

A Thomson woman, meanwhile, has been accused of rear-ending Mr. Evans' pickup truck, causing the driver to lose control and overturn. Mr. Evans, a passenger, was thrown from the vehicle. Trooper Fishel identified the woman as Rasheedah Kareemah Muhammad, 26, of the 400 block of Edgar Circle.

Ms. Muhammad, who is being held in the McDuffie County Law Enforcement Center, is charged with driving under the influence, vehicular homicide in the first degree, following too closely and having no driver's license, Trooper Fishel said.

Warren County Coroner Paul Lowe said Mr. Evans was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash on Interstate 20 at 3:57 a.m. Saturday. Mr. Evans died from massive head trauma, the coroner said. Mr. Evans was a recent graduate of Thomson High School.

The driver of Mr. Evans' 1997 Chevy S-10 pickup, Ortavious Smalley, 29, of the 1400 block of Dallas Drive, Thomson, was taken to the Medical College of Georgia Hospital in Augusta for treatment of various injuries. He later was released.

Trooper Fishel said Ms. Muhammad, who was traveling eastbound behind the pickup truck, rear-ended it, causing Mr. Smalley to lose control. Subsequently, the truck flipped several times. Ms. Muhammad and two female passengers in her vehicle escaped injury.

It was the fourth fatality to have occurred in a two-mile stretch of I-20 in Warren County in a week's time.

In a South Carolina wreck last Thursday morning, Timothy Justin Shelton, 25, of White Oak Road, Thomson, died following a pickup truck crash on Interstate 77 near Columbia.

Mr. Shelton succumbed to his injuries after being taken by ambulance to Palmetto Richland Hospital in Columbia, according to South Carolina Highway Patrol Lance Cpl. Josef Robinson, a public information officer.

Mr. Shelton, the son of Tim and Lynn Shelton and the older brother of William Shelton, all of Thomson, lost control of his 2004 Chevrolet pickup truck while traveling southbound on I-77, Trooper Robinson said. Mr. Shelton's vehicle slammed into a guardrail and overturned several times.

He was not wearing a seatbelt and was thrown out of the truck. Trooper Robinson said the crash occurred about 5:55 a.m. near Shop Road, about four miles from Columbia.

Mr. Shelton was a 2002 graduate of Thomson High School.

Web posted on Thursday, August 20, 2009

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