BURKE COUNTY, GA (WFXG) - One person is dead after a fatal head-on crash on River Road in Burke County, a road notorious for frequent accidents and speeding.
The crash happened at around 2:55 p.m. when a white Kia being driven by a twenty-one-year-old man attempted to pass a UPS truck and slammed head-on into a green Mazda Miata driven by forty-eight-year-old Franz Schultz of Evans. Schultz was an employee at Plant Vogtle. River Road sees about 3,000 vehicles during each work shift due to Plant Vogtle.
The Burke County Sheriff's Office has been proactive in trying to lower the number of fatal accidents and excessive speeding. Chief Blanchard tells us that since Jan. 1 of this year, they've seen approximately thirteen crashes on River Road and about five resulted in hospitalizations due to injuries. "We're very close to having a grant where we can put two additional officers working traffic. The majority of people that we pull over on this road and surrounding roads now don't get warnings anymore, they do get citations. You know our first year was more about warning. Now it's more about citations. Voluntary compliance is great but if you're not going to voluntarily comply, then we're going to do whatever we can do to make our roads as safe as possible."
Plant Vogtle employee Mike Ogle says he's never seen any other site stress the importance of safe driving as heavily as Vogtle has on River Road.
He says that since he's moved to Burke County, he's seen and heard quite a few accidents. "Living at the campground, I hear the sirens day, night, probably three times a week. It's just a matter of people themselves, individually, they have to take it upon themselves to be safer. That's all there is to it. Nobody wants to come out here and see a loved one or hear a loved one, a knock on their door from the Sheriff's Office department. It's just not good."
They both agree that no destination is worth your life or someone else's.
Chief Blanchard says, "You know, no matter what you need to get to, it's not worth risking your life or another person's life, no matter what. How is five minutes going to make that much of a difference? It's just not. People need to slow down. Life is short enough as it is. We don't need to do anything to make it any shorter."
The driver of the Kia survived and is currently at AU Medical Center with serious injuries.