GSP says speed a major factor in fatal Lee Co. crash - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

GSP says speed a major factor in fatal Lee Co. crash

By Jennifer Emert - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) –  Troopers say speeding caused a Lee County crash that killed three people on Highway 19 Sunday night.

The impact between a car and a pickup truck threw two unbuckled teens from the car and also killed the truck's driver. Eighteen year old Mead Cothren, 17 year old Matthew Weeks, and 32 year old Richard Bailey all died.

It's wasn't just three families who are grieving Monday, but the entire community as they try to understand what happened that caused these two vehicles to collide.

The Georgia State Patrol says speeding two times the posted speed limit caused this horrible crash on Highway 19 in Lee County that killed everyone involved.

"The vehicle didn't even stop for the stop sign it went right on through it," said Cpl. Scott McClure, of the Georgia State Patrol in Albany.

Witness tell investigators 18 year old Mead Cothren and 17 year old Matthew Weeks were traveling close to 60 miles per hour along Creekside Drive when they reached the intersection with Highway 19 and lost control and slammed into 32 year old Richard Bailey's pickup.

"(They) struck the vehicle sideways, at an angle at a very high rate of speed ejecting both the driver and the passenger from the vehicle leaving Creekside," said McClure.

The posted speed limit on Highway 19 where they encountered Bailey's vehicle is 55 miles per hour. Richard Bailey worked as a mechanic at Garrison Mobile Equipment, which maintains the Marine Corps Logistics Base's fleet of vehicles. Teachers at Twin Oaks rallied around his wife Melanie who teaches Special Ed and their five year old Emma and two year Jonathan.

"Just an outstanding individual, of what I knew of him, just a great guy. He was always here to see his wife and help her out when she needed anything," said Dr. Jason Miller, Twin Oaks Principal.

Pam Miller Mead Cothren's mother today said Mead was half way toward getting his GED.

"He was going to Albany Tech to finish his GED and then he was going to go over to Darton that was the plan," said Pamela Miller, Mead Cothren's Mother.

Monday Lee County School Officials observed a moment of silence for all involved but say neither teen was recently enrolled in the Lee County School System.

The School System has been encouraging teachers throughout the day to stop by and offer their support. The Schools say they fell like they're Melanie's second family.

The Georgia State Patrol is still calculating the speeds involved in the crash and why the teens were speeding.


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