5 Young ATV Riders Die in Ga. Collision
DOUGLAS, Ga. (AP) _ A car collided head-on with an all-terrain vehicle on a rural road, killing five children on the ATV and critically injuring a sixth, officials said.
Charges were pending Monday against the car’s driver, Amanda Michelle Troupe, 29, said Gordy Wright, a spokesman for the Georgia Department of Public Safety.
The children were on the ATV when the Lincoln sedan crossed the centerline and hit the four-wheeler, said Joann Lacey, a radio operator in the Douglas state patrol post.
Wright said the state patrol’s Specialized Collision Reconstruction team would investigate and present evidence, including the results of a blood test on Troupe, to the district attorney.
One of the children killed, 14-year-old Coranne Megan Nelson, was driving the off-road vehicle, which is not permitted on a public street, without a driver’s license.
The other victims were Dustin Varnedore, 11, and his 13-year-old sister, Kayla, of Wray; Lindsay Joiner, 13, of Douglas and Courtney Arsenault, 10, of Alma.
Heather Bass, 13, of Ambrose, was flown by helicopter to Memorial Medical Center in Savannah, where she was listed Monday in critical condition.
Coffee County Sheriff Rob Smith had to hold back tears when he talked with reporters about the accident in south-central Georgia.
``These young people were just beginning their life and some of them are my neighbors,″ he said.
The accident happened after 9 p.m. on Smith Cemetery Road, which separates Coffee and Irwin counties, about 10 miles northwest of Douglas, officials said.
Donna Reynolds, a farm safety specialist with the Georgia Farm Bureau, said she often sees children and adults riding ATVs on roads.
``People are riding ATVs everywhere and people look at them as a toy,″ she said. ``They are not toys. Period.″