Appling man, 53, dies in vehicle crash

A medical emergency is believed to be the cause of a single-vehicle wreck that killed an Appling man this morning.

Willie Rane Elam, 53, of the 6300 block of Cobbham Road, wrecked his Dodge Durango at about 9 a.m. while traveling south on Ray Owens Road in Appling, Columbia County sheriff's Capt. Steve Morris said.

"We believe he had a medical event before the wreck," Columbia County Deputy Coroner Harriett Garrison said. "He had multiple medical problems."

Elam lost control of the SUV near Retreat Court. The Durango rolled then hit two trees, Morris said. Rescue crews had to pry open the vehicle to extricate him.

Garrison said she does not suspect drugs or alcohol as a factor in the wreck. Elam's body will be sent to the Georgia Bureau of  Investigation Crime Lab in Augusta Tuesday for an autopsy to determine the exact cause of death.



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