Valdosta Daily Times

Local News

October 31, 2011

I-75 crash victims identified

Autopsy planned for Tuesday

VALDOSTA — Authorities on Sunday identified the two victims of a fiery Saturday crash on I-75 in Lowndes County.

Teresa Stopanio, 50, and her husband, Robert Stopanio, 48, of Reddick, Fla., near Ocala, were killed in the single-vehicle accident at the overpass for Exit 13, said Walter Wacter, Lowndes County’s deputy coroner. Mrs. Stopanio was driving the vehicle, he said.

An autopsy is planned for Tuesday, Wacter said. The bodies were “burned beyond recognition”  and are being sent to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s Macon crime lab to determine if they were killed on impact or died from the fire or smoke inhalation.

Relatives of those who died in the wreck were nearby in a second vehicle which was pulled off to the side of the wreck scene — some crying, others staring silently.

A woman who said she was a relative of the Stopanios said it appeared the vehicle was sideswiped before slamming into a concrete support for an overpass bridge. The car then burst into flame.

The woman said motorists stopped and tried to put out the fire with extinguishers, but were unable to save the Stopanios.

The Lowndes County Fire Department extinguished the fire at the scene. Georgia State Patrol officers and investigators were examining the scene to determine the cause of

 the accident.

Southbound traffic on I-75 was slowed to a crawl with lanes blocked as a result of the wreck.

Many posters to The Times’ website offered their condolences, and others called for improved safety measures on the interstate.

The damage to the overpass was purely cosmetic and not structural, said Craig Solomon, communications officer for the Georgia Department of Transportation.

For more on this story and other local news, subscribe to The Valdosta Daily Times e-Edition, or our print edition

1
Text Only
Local News
  • 041814-TreeDownonRobinHood.jpg Minor flooding expected

    Minor flooding of the Withlacoochee River is expected this weekend thanks to the day-long rains across South Georgia Friday, according to the National Weather Service.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 041814-TreeDownonRobinHood.jpg Wastewater hazards assessed

    During heavy rain events, five to 15 manholes throughout the city are at risk of overflowing into local waterways, according to the City of Valdosta.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140418-VSU_HSBA003.jpg Valdosta State cuts ribbon for health, business building

    Eighteen months after breaking ground on the project, Valdosta State University held the official ribbon cutting Friday for its Health Sciences and Business Administration Building.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140417-Rail_Plan-001.jpg State Transportation seeks public input on rail plan

    The Georgia Department of Transportation held public meetings across the state this week to discuss its 2014 Georgia State Rail Plan.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140417-valdosta_appr#10C8BA.jpg Officials serve lunch to city employees

    The City of Valdosta hosted its annual employee appreciation luncheon Thursday at John W. Saunders Memorial Park.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140417-Wiregrass003.jpg Wiregrass learns through play

    For three years, Wiregrass Georgia Technical College has hosted its Wired Up! event to engage students, faculty and staff in a fun but educational activity day.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • rain.jpg More spills? Valdosta braces for more rain

    In the past four weeks, Valdosta has experienced four major rain events that dumped more than three to four inches of rain on the area per incident.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140117-Scott_SGMAC-001.jpg Moody in running for Afghan pilot mission

    Moody Air Force Base is one of three military bases being considered for a temporary mission to train Afghan pilots next year, Rep. Austin Scott told the South Georgia Military Affairs Council Thursday.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • City: Most overflows stopped

    The City of Valdosta reported Wednesday evening that all manhole overflows resulting from Tuesday’s heavy rains had stopped, with the exception of two.

    April 17, 2014

  • 140416-gov_deal002.jpg Signed into law

    Gov. Nathan Deal went on a signing tour Wednesday across Georgia, flying into the Valdosta Regional Airport to sign three bills into law.

    April 17, 2014 2 Photos

Top News
Poll

What you think about school and workplace rules about Facebook friends?

There have to be rules.
No need for rules, just use common sense.
If people want to be friends, what is the big deal?
Nobody uses Facebook anymore.
     View Results