2 women dead after Highway 78 crash

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April 7, 2007

AIKEN CTY, S.C.---Two South Carolina families are grieving after a crash in Aiken County left two women dead. It happened last night on Highway 78 near the intersection of Airco Boulevard. That's just a few miles from Montmorenci.

Two strangers who led two different lives met the same tragic end.

56-year-old Fannie Jones was on her way home to Denmark after a day of shopping with her family in Augusta. She was driving her Dodge Caravan east on Highway 78 when she was hit head on by a Langley woman trying to pass a tractor trailer truck in a no passing zone.

Neighbors say the collision was explosive.

"I was inside, in one of the back rooms, and heard it," said Ashely Copeland. "It kind of sounded like a balloon pop, but more forceful."

The two vans collided, sideswiped the tractor trailer, and spun into a ditch.

Rescue crews had to use the Jaws of Life to pull Jones and the other woman, 53-year-old Sandra Jefferson, from their vans.

"There were a lot of lights outside, I guess them trying to see what was going on and what not," Ashely said.

But there was nothing anyone could do to save the women. Both later died at Aiken Regional Medical Center.

Fannie's husband tells News 12 his wife of 35 years was his best friend--a loving wife, mother, grandmother and aunt, gone forever in the blink of an eye.

"Be more cautious," Ashely suggests, "because you never know. In that instant, bam, it could be all over, and you could be dead. It definitely makes you want to pay attention to what you're doing and not get such in a hurry that you're passing somebody without there being the turn lane."

It could have been much worse. Both women had children in their cars. Three were treated and released at mcg for shock trauma.

Fanny Jones' 74-year-old mother remains in critical condition.

The deaths make the 12th and 13th traffic fatalities in Aiken County this year.

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