Military men killed in Worth Co. crash - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Military men killed in Worth Co. crash

By  Stephanie Springer  - bio | email

SYLVESTER, GA (WALB) –It was a deadly weekend in south Georgia. Four people were killed in three separate crashes, in Worth, Mitchell and Thomas Counties.

The most recent happened Sunday night when two young soldiers were killed on Highway 112 in Worth County.

William Giddens says its unusual to visit an accident scene more than once, but this morning, his company had no choice but to return to the tragic scene, "We couldn't get it in one load, it was such a mess," says Giddens.

Around 11 o'clock Sunday night, troopers were called to an accident on highway 112 near mile marker 22, near Shingler.

A Cadillac CTS traveled off the road hundreds of feet before slamming into a large Pecan Tree and bursting into flames. "The fire was real hot and they were burnt pretty severely," said Johnny Johnson, Worth Co. Coroner.

Officials say 18-year old Lonnie Cooke was driving the car. He and his passenger Anthony Castellucio had just finished basic training at Fort Knox, in Kentucky. They were visiting Cooke's family in the Albany area, before taking off to Fort Stewart.

It's not the only accident troopers investigated over the weekend. Among the other victims..36-year-old Jeffery Mercer from Camilla, who troopers say was speeding north down highway 19..in the south bound lane. He was killed after side wiping a semi-truck and hitting an oncoming Honda Civic.

And 31-year old Christina Smith, from Thomas County who was ejected from her vehicle, troopers say she was not wearing her seat belt.

Troopers say Cooke and Castellucio were wearing their seatbelts, and the airbags deployed but at this point they believe Cooke may have fell asleep at the wheel.

Cooke and Castellucio were identified by their military dog tags.@

The coroner says a funeral home out of Fort Gaines came and picked up Cooke this afternoon and the army is currently making arrangements for Castellucio.

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