Originally created 05/07/02

Fatalities mount on area roads



A mother and daughter from Louisiana and an Aiken man died in separate crashes Monday, making a total of five people killed on local roads in the past four days.

Grace Mae Steward, 58, of Shreveport, La., apparently dozed off in the eastbound lane of Interstate 20 at 5:30 a.m. Monday and rolled her Ford Explorer down an embankment, officials said.

Skid marks near mile marker 161 suggest she drove off the south shoulder, woke up and overcorrected, officials said.

The wreck killed Mrs. Steward and her daughter Joyce Bonner, 40. Mrs. Steward's husband, Luther, 71, and her niece Vicky Pratt, 29, were taken to Medical College of Georgia Hospital and were listed in good condition.

The family had been driving all night from Louisiana, headed to South Carolina, said Georgia State Patrol Cpl. Jason Johnson.

Also Monday, Brian Edward Jackson, 20, of the 400 block of East Boundary in Aiken, was killed instantly on Two Notch Road after passing two cars on his motorcycle, according to the Aiken Department of Public Safety.

Mr. Jackson lost control of his Honda 750 about 6:35 p.m. and skidded onto the shoulder, coming to rest just past the intersection of Two Notch and Brandy Road, police said.

Police said it was Mr. Jackson's handling of the bike and not speed that was to blame.

"They didn't feel he was going real, real fast," Sgt. David Turno said after the two cars' drivers were interviewed. "He lost control so soon after passing the cars, he was slowing down, not speeding up."

A helmet investigators said they believed Mr. Jackson was wearing was found in pieces. Assistant Coroner Daryl Ables said toxicology reports are pending, but alcohol is not suspected.

A Burke County woman was killed Sunday after losing control and overcorrecting on a rural road just outside Sardis, Georgia State Patrol troopers said.

Edith Eugenia Robert, 41, of Girard, was killed when her older-model Ford Mustang rolled several times down an embankment along Ellifon Bridge Road at 11:10 a.m., officials said.

In Jefferson County, 18-year-old Bryan Arrington was killed Friday afternoon when he drove into the path of a 1998 Ford Expedition driven by Laura Lynn Wheeler, 26, of Louisville, said Georgia State Patrol's Sgt. William McTeer. Her vehicle collided with the teen's 1993 Plymouth Lazer in front of Jefferson County High School at 3:25 p.m.

Mr. Arrington was taken by ambulance to MCG, where he died. Ms. Wheeler, daughter of Jefferson County Sheriff Gary Hutchins, was taken to Emanuel Medical Center, where she was treated and released.

No charges will be filed in that accident, Georgia State Patrol officials said.

Reach Greg Rickabaugh at (706) 828-3851 or greg.rickabaugh@augustachronicle.com.