Wreck claims lives of man, his mother, and his unborn child

By: Diane Cho
By: Diane Cho

It was a scary afternoon for drivers on Washington Road near its intersection with Bobby Jones Expressway on Sunday, May 4. There, accused shoplifters caused a wreck that cost two people and an unborn child their lives.

20-year-old Tiara Smith, 42-year-old Nebula McNeely and a 7-year-old child were in an SUV that hit a Chrysler occupied by four people.

Deputies say it all began when Smith and McNeely stole some clothes at the Marshall's in the Mullin's Crossing shopping center in Evans.

The women made it less than five miles down the road before smashing into a car at the intersection of Bobby Jones and Washington Road at around 4:00 p.m.

"We were on our way down Washington Road, out shopping for the afternoon, and saw the black Explorer flying down the road," said Darlene Johnson. Her car was struck in the accident.

"Everything happened so fast," she said. "It was like slow motion watching the car come at you."

Luckily no one in her car was injured.

"We weren't lucky," Johnson said. "It was God."

Police say 63-year-old Margaret Branton and her 37-year-old son, Lonnie Turner, who were in the front seats of the Chrysler, were killed.

Mr. Turner's pregnant wife, Mary, was in the back seat of the Chrysler with a four-year-old child. Deputies say Mrs. Turner lost her unborn child due to the wreck.

Smith is now charged with two counts of traffic homicide, feticide, running a red light, speeding, and driving with an unrestrained child. Shoplifting charges are pending.

McNeely was seriously injured and faces shoplifting charges.


Mailing Address: P.O. Box 1212 Augusta, GA 30903 Main Telephone: (803) 278-1212 Newsroom: (803) 278-3111 Fax: (803) 442-4561
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