Names, details released in Jefferson County wreck that killed 4

LOUISVILLE, Ga. — Jefferson County authorities have released the names and details of a two-vehicle wreck Friday night that killed four members of a Clarke County family and injured two others.

 

According to Jefferson County Coroner Edward James, a sedan’s four back-seat passengers, three female and one male, were pronounced dead at the scene. They have been identified as Chiranjebee Khanal and Jiba-Manjari Khanal, both 61 and the parents of the driver; Pratima Subedi, 29, the driver’s girlfriend; and Reecha Pant, 30, the driver’s sister-in-law, .

Emergency responders worked to free the driver, Sameer Khanal, and front passenger, Subhash Khanal, brothers, who were taken to AU Medical Center. The front passenger was taken by helicopter.

The driver of a truck, who is from Sandersville and works for a Tennille-based company, sustained minor injuries.

About 9 p.m. Friday, the family’s Nissan Altima was traveling north on Georgia Highway 296 and ran a stop sign at Georgia Highway 88 between Wrens and Louisville. The five-passenger sedan collided with an 18-wheeler hauling agricultural products.

According to witnesses at the scene, the truck driver tried to avoid the car and ran off the north side of the road.

The Georgia State Patrol trooper investigating the wreck said the two vehicles first collided in the intersection and then a second time on the north shoulder of Highway 88 west of the intersection.

The coroner said the bodies were being sent to the state crime lab, and the trooper said the accident is still under investigation.

“It’s just a really sad situation,” James said. “The driver said that the family was returning to Athens after a trip to Savannah. He said that he had driven that road maybe four times over the last four years. That’s a really bad intersection. It needs a caution light or speed bumps or something.”

According to the trooper, the driver and Subedi are residents of Athens. His brother is from Chicago, and the other three family members were visiting from Kathmandu, Nepal.

The accident sparked discussion among Jefferson County Commission members during a work session Monday night regarding the hazards of that intersection and others along Highway 88. They discussed the need for additional safety measures at not only the intersection of Highway 88 at Highway 296 but also the intersection of Highway 88 at Highway 171.

Commission Chairman Mitchell McGraw said Friday’s wreck was terrible.

“I can’t remember how many wrecks we’ve had there,” he said.

Commissioner Johnny Davis said he received a phone call that night about placing flashing lights at 88 and 296. He said he and County Administrator Adam Mestres had a conversation about that and,he had a conversation with McGraw the next day.

Because Highway 88 is a state highway, the commission does not have the authority to make any changes, including lights or signs, without state approval.

Davis said requesting letters from the sheriff, the city mayors and other officials could speed up the process.

Staff Writer Carol McLeod contributed to this article.

 

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