Two die in alcohol-related crashes - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Two die in alcohol-related crashes

December 30, 2003

Lowndes County - The holiday travel period was a deadly one for Georgia motorists. 24 people were killed in traffic accidents, that's seven more than the Georgia State Patrol predicted. Two of those fatalities were in Lowndes County this weekend, and both were caused by suspected drunk drivers.

Members of the Special Collision Reconstruction Team marked the scene where 31-year-old Renee Palmer lost her life Saturday night. "The driver of the truck on Loch Laurel Road lost control at the intersection of Highway 31, traveled across all five lanes of traffic and struck the car head on," said Trooper Ward Holton.

All that's left of her Toyota Camry is a mangled mess, after being struck by a Ford truck, driven by 30-year-old James Lawson. Kenneth Parker was one of the first on the scene. "I could tell she was in bad shape," said Parker.

He says the driver and passenger in the truck that hit Palmer were obviously drunk. "They were slurring in their speech, and staggering," said Parker.

Friday night, a 10-month-old infant was killed when her aunt, Belinda Spillman, lost control of her car on Radar Site Road. State troopers say she was also driving drunk. "She lost control, spun counter-clockwise and struck a culvert from the rear end," said Holton.

Two deaths in Lowndes County in 24 hours, a sad reminder of the dangers of drinking and driving. "People should not be drinking and driving period, its terrible that an innocent life like that was taken," said Parker.

James Lawson and Belinda Spillman are both charged with vehicular homicide, D.U.I, and failure to maintain lane. James Lawson is in an Atlanta hospital undergoing facial surgery. The passenger in his truck was not injured. Belinda Spillman and her passenger were both treated for minor injuries.

posted at 8:20A.M. by ashley.harper@walb.com