Alcohol linked to midstate’s three New Year’s fatalities

Three of the state’s 20 fatalities occurred in Middle Georgia during the New Year’s travel period.

Putnam County Sheriff Howard Sills said his office had to use fingerprints to identify a New Year’s Eve accident victim last week in the northeast part of the county.

Armando Ortiz, 34, a Mexican national who was living in Putnam County, was injured beyond recognition in the crash on New Phoenix Road about 9:45 p.m. Wednesday, Sills said.

Alcohol was a likely factor in the accident as Ortiz drove a 1997 Volkswagen Jetta off the road and hit a fence post before flipping into a tree, Sills said.

Troopers believe alcohol was a factor in both Dublin-area accidents. Tanorrie Stephens, 30, of Jeffersonville jumped from a moving car on U.S. 80 and was hit by a pickup on New Year’s Eve about a mile east of Jeffersonville in Twiggs County. Jermaine Tyrone Wright, 34, of Rentz hit a power pole on Bates Avenue in Rentz on Thursday night.