September 4, 2006
This Labor Day had a traumatic start for one McDuffie County family. 17-year-old high school senior Amber Hinton was killed in an ATV accident just after midnight.
The accident happened on Wire Road, in a rural part of McDuffie County between Dearing and Thomson.
As news traveled through the small community, friends gathered at a memorial rock for comfort.
"She was my best friend," said Megan McMichael, best friends with Amber since the 8th grade.
They shared everything together, even a locker.
"Her books will be there, but she's not."
It was joyriding that turned traumatic for four people riding on two ATVs on wire road.
One of the ATVs stopped suddenly when the driver spotted a mailbox in its path. The other ATV crashed into the first ATV. Amber was a passenger on the back of the second ATV.
"He struck the rear of the first and ejected both the driver and passenger on the second ATV," explained Cpl. Ritchie Howard of the Georgia State Patrol.
Family members like Fred Hester have to see for themselves.
"You want to see where it was," Hester said.
Amber Hinton was a senior at Thomason High School, and more than likely, when students return from Labor Day Weekend, they will be met by grief counselors.
"I'm coming to school tomorrow and hopefully I will be able to make it through," Megan said.
Georgia State Patrol tells News 12 that ATVs are not legally allowed on public roadways, but there isn't much legislation to back that up.