The fiery pileup involving multiple vehicles on Interstate 16 in Macon on Tuesday has claimed its fourth victim.
Richard Rozier, 80, of Dublin, died at 1:30 p.m. Saturday at the Joseph M. Still Burn Center at Doctors Hospital in Augusta, according to Bibb County Coroner Leon Jones.
The wreck happened about 5:30 p.m. just east of the exit for Ocmulgee Boulevard. The crash occurred as traffic slowed near a road work site, and a tractor-trailer driven by Gerard Lawrence Thompson Sr., 49, slammed into a pickup and a Chevy Cobalt. Two people died at the scene and one died in the emergency room at the Medical Center, Navicent Health, in Macon.
Rozier, who had been a passenger in the Cobalt with 84-year-old Robert Day of Vidalia, had been air lifted to Augusta. Day died at the scene. The men were traveling with a group from Greater New Friendship Baptist Church in Laurens County to a revival at a Macon church.
Three church members who were riding in a van, Amigene Wright, 61, of Rentz, Sheila Hines, 56, of Dublin and James Snell, no age available, remain in critical condition Saturday at the Medical Center, said the church’s pastor, Nathan Amest. The hospital would only confirm they were still in the hospital, and did not release any information on their condition.
Marjorie Jones, 81, who was riding in the van, went into cardiac arrest after suffering trauma in the accident and she died at the Medical Center the day of the wreck.
“We are weathering the storm,” Amest said. “(Rozier) was definitely a pillar of the church. He was a great man. He would do what he can that was in his power to help you. He was a great deacon of the church. ... He will also be missed.”
He said that Rozier’s children, grandchildren and brother and sisters were able to talk to him before he died.
“He wasn’t, of course, able to talk back, but he knew they were there,” Amest said. “He was a strong man to endure that type of accident and to stay alive for that long. God saw fit for him to come on home. We’re OK with that.”
Rozier’s brother, Curtis Rozier, died June 23 following a car wreck on U.S. 441 in Dublin, Amest said. Curtis Rozier was 78, according to his obituary.
“We are praying hard” for the Rozier family, Amest said.
Thompson, of Palmetto in Fulton County, was charged with vehicular homicide and his bond was set Wednesday at $50,000. The amount includes $15,000 for each of three vehicular homicide charges and $5,000 for an aggressive driving charge.
Following Rozier’s death, the Bibb County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release Saturday afternoon that Thompson would be charged with a fourth count of vehicular homicide. Thompson is currently out on bond for the original charges, it said.
Anyone with information about the wreck is urged to contact the Bibb County Sheriff’s Office at 478-751-7500.