Originally created 08/08/03

3-vehicle crash kills mom, child



A fatal three-vehicle wreck shut down part of Mike Padgett Highway for at least two hours Thursday, authorities said.

Karen H. Hawn, 23, of Waynesboro, and her 17-month-old daughter, Brandy N. Habercorn, were killed in the accident while traveling in a Ford Mustang on Mike Padgett Highway, said Richmond County sheriff's Deputy Bernie Hardin.

Ms. Hawn suffered trauma to the body and fractures to her lower extremities, said Deputy Coroner Grover Tuten. She was pronounced dead at 12:55 p.m. at the scene, he said.

The toddler was taken to Medical College of Georgia Hospital, where she was pronounced dead at 2:20 p.m. from a broken neck, authorities said. Brandy had been strapped in a child-safety seat in the back and needed to be cut from her restraints after the accident, officials said.

"(Her mother did) everything right. The only thing is, it's such a severe impact the whiplash actually broke the baby's neck," Mr. Tuten said.

The call to the sheriff's office came at 11:54 a.m., Deputy Hardin said. A black, late-model Honda on Goshen Road pulled out in front of a tractor-trailer turning onto Mike Padgett Highway.

He said the tractor-trailer hit Ms. Hawn's Mustang head-on, killing her.

The Honda also was struck, causing major damage to its rear, Deputy Hardin said.

Sheriff's deputies blocked traffic on Mike Padgett Highway at Tobacco Road and at Doug Barnard Parkway for at least two hours.

Maj. Larry Vinson, of the Southgate precinct of the sheriff's office, said Mike Padgett Highway was partly reopened after 3 p.m. Thursday.

Reach Jeremy Craig at (706) 823-3409 or jeremy.craig@augustachronicle.com.