Crash victims returning from prayer meeting - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Crash victims returning from prayer meeting

March 2, 2004

Mitchell County - A quadruple fatality has rocked a south Georgia community. Monday night, a car pulled out in front of a propane tanker truck. Inside the car, three elderly women returning from a prayer meeting. They and the driver of the truck were killed.

A small south Georgia town mourning the loss of not one, not two, but three special neighbors. A friend, Janice Russ, sighs, "Harmony is going to be very sad without these three ladies."

One was Heath Hayes' grandmother, 76-year-old Sara Culpepper. Hayes says, "Everybody loved the time we spent with her, but those days are gone and she's in a better place now. "

Culpepper and her two friends died inside the crushed car. They were coming from a church meeting. Russ holds back tears, "I'm sure all three ladies had their bibles, that's just the type of ladies they were."

Also in the car, 87-year-old Frances Lennard and 82-year-old Christine Martin. All were active church members at Harmony Baptist Church in Mitchell County.

They died moments after leaving a prayer meeting at Tucker Baptist Association. Culpepper was driving. Hayes says, "She had the LORD on her mind when she went away."

She pulled out in front of a propane tanker truck on US 19 South. The truck struck her car. The truck driver 65-year-old Bobby Gene Johnson of Bainbridge was ejected and also died.

Earlier in the day Culpepper watched a relative, David Williamson, be buried. He died of health problems. Hayes adds, "That was the last place I spoke to grandma and I told her I loved her. I never knew the last place I would see her would be at another funeral."

Now, the Harmony Community will be forced to make funeral arrangements for three more loved ones.

None of the victims were wearing seat belts. The truck driver, Bobby Johnson, was hauling propane for Rentz Transport Systems in Brinson, a company his dad started.

posted at 5:05PM by kathryn.simmons@walb.com