Houston & Peach

Weekend wrecks claim 9 lives across midstate

Nine people died in seven crashes on Middle Georgia roads over the weekend, according to law enforcement officials.

Three people died Friday night after a two-vehicle crash on Interstate 16 in Laurens County, the Georgia State Patrol reported.

Bonnie Jean Knight, 42, of Dublin was driving a 1999 Ford Windstar van east on I-16 in the westbound lane about 10:35 p.m. She collided head-on with a 1998 Buick Regal driven by Rebecca Ann Hamm, 31, of Covington, about seven miles east of Dublin near mile marker 58, said Sgt. K.E. DeLoach, the Dublin post commander.

Both drivers were killed in the crash. Hamm’s 3-year-old daughter, Ivy Walden, was taken to Fairview Park Hospital in Dublin, then airlifted to Memorial University Medical Center in Savannah, where she died Saturday, DeLoach said.

The other passenger, 2-year-old William Walden, was rushed to Fairview Park Hospital and then taken by ambulance to Memorial hospital.

Michael Notrica, a spokesman for the hospital, said he couldn’t comment on Walden’s condition due to a hospital policy that limits information released about patients under age 18.

Authorities still aren’t sure why Knight was driving east in the westbound lanes. DeLoach said troopers have submitted tests for drugs and alcohol. It could be one to two months before results are returned, however.

Kenneth Jared Daniels, 26, of Warner Robins died after losing control of his car at the intersection of Houston Lake and Dunbar roads about 3 a.m. Monday, according to the Houston County Sheriff’s Office.

Daniels was traveling south on Houston Lake Road in his 2000 white Chevrolet Monte Carlo at a high speed, said Houston County sheriff’s Cpl. Sean Alexander. Daniels applied his brakes and spun through the intersection, traveling across the roadway and into a ditch, then struck a telephone pole.

Kayla Diane Brown, 19, of Waverly Hall in Harris County was killed Sunday night after she ran a stop sign and her green Isuzu was struck by an oncoming tractor-trailer at Ga. 96 and the Ga. 49 Connector in Peach County, according to the state patrol.

Brown was traveling north on Ga. 96 when she pulled out in front of the eastbound tractor-trailer driven by James Leonard Andrews, 45, of Lanett, Ala., trooper Darryl Clark said. The tractor-trailer overturned in the crash. Andrews was not badly hurt, Clark said.

Tim Biddle, 32, of Cusseta, the passenger in Brown’s sport utility vehicle, was taken to The Medical Center of Central Georgia with non-life-threatening injuries.

Two pedestrians died after being struck by cars in Macon Saturday.

Kiara Crafter, 16, of Robert Henry Street was struck about 8 p.m. Saturday near the intersection of Anthony Road and Lincoln Street, according to a police report.

Bernadine Denise Hill, 49, of Oglesby Place told police she was driving east on Anthony Road when two females walked in front of her car. She told police she tried to stop, but her tires locked up and she struck Crafter, according to the report.

Crafter died Sunday at the Medical Center, Bibb County Coroner Leon Jones said.

William David Hanson, 59, died after being struck by a vehicle near the intersection of Emery Highway and Short Street about 11 p.m. Saturday, Jones said.

Chris A. Bryson, 42 of Jeffersonville Road told Macon police he was headed west on Emery Highway about 11:10 p.m. when Hanson walked into the road.

Drug and alcohol tests were performed on the drivers and pedestrians involved in both accidents. Results are pending. No charges have been filed.

A Montezuma resident also died Saturday night in a two-vehicle crash on Ga. 224, according to the Georgia State Patrol.

A 1994 Chevrolet pickup was traveling east on Ga. 224 toward Perry and a 2003 Ford Expedition was headed west toward Montezuma when a deer bounded out of a field and struck the right quarter panel of the pickup about 11:08 p.m., Trooper First Class Justin Tabor said.

The impact threw the deer into the path of the sport utility vehicle, with its driver swerving to miss the deer. The sport utility vehicle crashed head-on into the pickup, Tabor said.

Shenear Abbott, 30, the driver of the pickup, was killed. Larquenda Abbott, 31, of Montezuma, the passenger in the pickup, was taken to the Medical Center for treatment of minor injuries, Tabor said.

Zalinski Westberry, 22, of Montezuma, the driver of the Ford Expedition, and passenger Shey Floyd, 21, of Americus were airlifted to a Columbus hospital as a precaution, with non-life-threatening injuries, he said.

An 11-year-old girl died Sunday after a van driven by her grandfather hit a tree and caught fire, the state patrol said.

William Kittrell, 70, of Rockledge, was traveling west on I-16 in a 1997 Ford Econoline van when he took the U.S. 441 exit ramp just before 3 p.m. On the ramp, the van struck a curb and a tire blew, sending the van across both lanes of 441 and down the other exit ramp. The van veered off the roadway and went down a steep embankment, hit a tree and caught fire, DeLoach said.

Cheyenne Kittrell of Rockledge died at the scene, while her grandfather was taken to the Augusta burn center. He was listed in serious condition Monday, a hospital spokeswoman said.

Kittrell told troopers he was having trouble with his cruise control and that it became stuck in the on position. Troopers are still working to substantiate Kittrell’s statement.

To contact writer Becky Purser, call 256-9559. To contact writer Amy Leigh Womack, call 744-4398.