Deadliest Memorial Day weekend in Georgia history - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Deadliest Memorial Day weekend in Georgia history

May 30, 2005

Albany-- It's after 4 p.m. on Monday and only a few more hours left of the Memorial Day weekend.

"It's crunch time. We've got to get the word out to everybody to slow down, buckle up, don't be in a rush these last few hours," says Sergeant Jamie Sullivan of Georgia State Patrol. Law enforcement officials are still hitting the roads pretty strong.

"The increased volume of traffic of course we need to increase the volume of troopers on the highway," says Sullivan. Holiday weekends are when they see the highest number of crashes, injuries, and crash-related deaths.

"Throughout the state, right now we're up to 29 reported fatalities and that's well over the predicted number of 17," says Sullivan. 29 fatalities is already a Memorial Day record. That's more fatalities than any year since the state started keeping the numbers in 1969 and Sergeant Jamie Sullivan fears those numbers will increase even more by the end of the day.

"I don't want that to happen but there's a good possibility that the numbers could be higher," says Sullivan. So officials are doing what they can to prevent any more problems by focusing on three main things. "Speeding, no seatbelts, and drinking and driving," says Sullivan.

These are things they feel are the cause of many of the deaths. By six p.m. Sullivan's fears came true. Five more fatalities occurred on Georgia's roads.

"I have to deal with the families and what do I tell them?  What can I tell them? How can I comfort that family that lost a sibling, a mother, brother, sister to a drunk driver? How do you justify that?," says Sullivan.

He says that he can't but what he can do is try his best to make sure the roads are safe. All he can do is pray that at the end of the day, he's made a difference.

"Yes, at the end of the shift we hope we made it different for some family and hope we saved some lives but I tell you this honestly, in the morning I start over again," says Sullivan.

Sixteen of the fatalities so far were caused by six crashes.

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