17-year-old dead after vehicle wrecked while racing, police say

From staff reportsApril 21, 2013 

A 17-year-old Perry boy died early Sunday in a crash after the driver of the vehicle he was traveling in lost control and wrecked while racing, according to a release from the Houston County Sheriff’s Office.

Alcohol is believed to be a factor, and the driver, who was also injured, is facing felony charges and several traffic offenses, according to the release.

About 2 a.m. Sunday, authorities were called to the accident on Duke Road near the intersection with Toomer Road.

Three people were injured in the crash that involved a 2010 Ford Mustang GT. The driver was identified as 44-year-old Danny Ray Wheeler, of Perry. Wheeler was seriously injured and was flown by helicopter to The Medical Center of Central Georgia. The front seat passenger, 17-year-old Colten Joseph Winkler, of Perry, was killed in the crash. The back seat passenger, 26-year-old Michael Spence, was also transported to the Medical Center. He is listed in stable condition.

An investigation found a party was going on at Wheeler’s, just down the street from the crash. About 2 a.m., several of the people at the party gathered and traveled to Duke Road. It was there that Wheeler’s vehicle and another vehicle started racing, according to the release. Both vehicles reached a high speed and Wheeler lost control of the vehicle. The Mustang traveled several hundred feet on the shoulder of the road and into a fence. It continued into a large 30- to 40-foot tree.

Anyone who has any knowledge of the incident is asked to contact Cpl. Sean Alexander or deputy Brandon Miller of the Houston County Sheriff’s Office Traffic Division at (478) 542-2080.

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