Bypass wrecks due to negligence - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Bypass wrecks due to negligence

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By Jennifer Emert - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) –  The Liberty Expressway looked more like a junkyard after two crashes closed the highway for several hours and sent four people to the hospital Monday morning.

Police say too many drivers simply aren't paying attention to what's happening in front of them.

47 year old Kennedy West of Dawson was attempting to change lanes in his tractor trailer when he clipped the back of 70 year old Lorraine Hargrow's Mercedes Benz. That stopped traffic and caused another chain reaction crash less than a mile away.

There have been at least 10 crashes on the bypass just in the last five days. Police say it all comes down to drivers following other motorists too closely and not watching out for other motorists around them.

Pieces of metal, plastic, and several crumpled vehicles littered the north or westbound lanes of the bypass. Carl Gregory General Manager Mike Silver collided with the guard rail swerving to avoid the rear-end collision in front of him.

"The vehicle pitched up from being on its brakes and it hit and then metal flew up and the you could see the cars, kind of like something you would see on TV, the cars kind of went like this.  

Those stopped from another crash between a Mercedes and a tractor trailer further north say they could hear the twisting metal and screams behind them. "You could hear the crunches getting worse, as it got closer," said Motorist Douglas Hamil.

"I was just holding on, hit the guard rail and I felt I could almost scoot by before the truck came to a stop because, I was in the grass so I was kind of sliding and then I just bumped this car a little bit," Mike Silver said.

Four vehicles were damaged in the second crash, another in the first.  Police say it's a matter of drivers paying attention to what's happening on the highway in front of them.

It's become an all too common occurrence.  Thursday, eight crashes happened within half a mile of each other in the same area between Slappey Boulevard and Jefferson Street.  Police say it's over confident drivers.

"They seem to do or think they do so much of it that they really just don't look or pay attention to what they're doing anymore because they know where they're going and they don't look out for the other drivers," said Cpl. Jon Seagroves of the Albany Police Department.

They remind motorists to drive defensively and be more aware of the surrounding motorists. Police also encourage motorists not to rubberneck if they see a crash.

"You need to maintain your distance especially up here on the bypass where speeds are 65 miles per hour and greater you need to allow a little bit extra just in case something like this does happen," Seagroves said.

They say taking your eyes off the road for just a moment could be all it takes to make you the victim of the same crash you're watching.

Albany Police charged the Kennedy West, the driver of the tractor trailer with failure to maintain a lane.  Dawn Shaw the driver of  the silver Nissan was also cited for following too close.  Shaw was released from Phoebe. 

70 year old Lorraine Hargrow and 75 year old Fred Lee Davis, the driver of the Oxford Truck, were also treated and released.

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