Fatal wreck near Smithville - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Fatal wreck near Smithville

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October 1, 2002

Lee County - One man is killed and two others seriously injured, after losing control of their truck and hitting a tree. The wreck happened around 11:00 a.m. Tuesday, just north of Smithville on US 19.

Now, a Georgia State Patrol reconstruction team is trying to figure out what caused the deadly accident and what, if any, charges will be filed.

Motorist Leon Baisden was the first on the scene of the wreck. "One person was thrown out of the vehicle. I tried to help another person out of the car, but I knew it couldn't get him out," said Baisden.

The landscape truck, owned by A&D Landscaping Company in Newnan, had struck a tree. "The driver lost control of the truck as he rounded the curve. He then overcorrected, ran of the road, and hit the tree," said Georgia State Patrol Sgt. Joe Futch.

The driver was thrown from the vehicle. One passenger was killed instantly. The other was trapped inside the truck, with severe injuries. Firefighters and EMS workers used the jaws of life to pull him out, but the men only spoke Spanish. The language barrier made the rescue harder than usual.

"The victim couldn't tell use where he was hurt or what had happened," said Lee County Fire Chief Joe Pollock. Help came from a Leesburg police officer, who acted as a translator between the crew and the victim.

The driver and passenger were rushed to Sumter Regional Hospital. The 3 men weren't wearing their seatbelts, and troopers say the driver may have been speeding. And, that combination proved to be deadly.

Charges are pending an investigation by the GSP Specialized Reconstruction Team.