Head-on collision kills four

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December 22, 2006

EFFINGHAM CTY, Ga.---The holiday brings increased road patrols for your safety...especially with the wet roads we've been having lately.

The South Carolina Highway Patrol is just one group that wants to help you avoid a deadly accident during the holidays.

"Always when it's inclement weather, we're on pins and needles, basically, because of the increase in danger," LCpl. Trevor Clinton told News 12.

More than a thousand die every year on Georgia roads. Many of these accidents happen around the holidays. One recent example cost four lives less than a week before Christmas.

The crash killed trucker Odell Flournoy, Courtney Roberts, and her two kids, Brandon and Joseph Taylor, both under two years old.

The accident report shows Roberts was headed north and Flournoy was headed south on Georgia Highway 17 near Effingham County Tuesday afternoon (December 19). Roberts apparently crossed the center line, and the impact sent both drivers off the road into nearby woods.

Sandra Sydow heard the crash all the way from her house as the '89 Oldsmobile hit the log truck head-on.

"When I heard what happened I was really concerned for the driver's family...both drivers," she said. "It's got to be devastating. Any time of the year is bad, but Christmas is double."

Double the emotional impact on the families, double the physical impact on the drivers.

At the posted speed of 55, that's a force of 110 miles per hour.

In this case, the report shows that force sent both drivers off the road into nearby trees after Roberts drifted into the oncoming lane.

That scene is happening far too often on two-lane country highways, which is why Carl Hillyard of the Georgia Department of Transportation cautions drivers to stay alert.

"Just drive safe," he said.

"My heart just went out to them," Sydow said. "I can't imagine having to go through that."

Odell was a truck driver from Waynesboro, working for J.D. Hendley Logging. The accident report shows he was not drinking.

Roberts has been tested for both drugs and alcohol. Those results will help the Georgia State Patrol figure out what caused her to cross the center line Tuesday afternoon.