Valdosta Daily Times

Local News

October 30, 2011

Fiery wreck kills 2 in Lowndes

I-75 traffic snarled by accident

VALDOSTA — Two people were killed Saturday afternoon in a fiery crash on I-75 in Lowndes County.

The wreck at Exit 13 involved a single vehicle, said Paige Dukes, the county’s public information officer.

Walter Wacter, deputy coroner for Lowndes County, confirmed the two fatalities on the scene but the names of the victims have not been released.

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. A woman who said she was a relative of those who were killed said it appeared the vehicle was sideswiped before slamming into a concrete support for the overpass bridge at Exit 13. 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 those trapped inside.

She said the two who died were from Ocala, Fla. Out of respect for the family, her name is not being used. The names of the wreck victims were not available Saturday evening.

Responders from the Lowndes County Fire Department were able to

extinguish the fire at the scene. Georgia State Patrol officers and investigators were examining the scene to determine the cause of the accident.

Wacter said the wreck victims were “burned beyond recognition,”  and their bodies would be sent to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s Macon crime lab Monday to determine if they were killed on impact or died from the fire or smoke inhalation.

Southbound traffic on I-75 was slowed to a crawl with lanes blocked as a result of the wreck. As of 6 p.m., law enforcement was opening one of the three southbound lanes.

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

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