Labor Day weekend: Georgia roadway deaths up over last year, more than 200 DUI arrests

benw@ledger-enquirer.comSeptember 5, 2013 

Columbus and Phenix City avoided traffic deaths over the busy Labor Day weekend, but Georgia still recorded more deaths than last year while Alabama traffic deaths remain the same as last year, authorities said.

Traffic accidents left 14 people dead in Georgia during the 78-hour holiday period that started at 6 p.m. Friday and ended at midnight Monday. The state recorded one more death than the 13 reported in 2012, according to the Georgia State Patrol.

The Alabama Department of Public Safety said six people died during the holiday period. Statewide, the traffic death total also was six in 2012.

In Georgia, troopers were called to investigate 443 traffic accidents which resulted in 226 injuries across the state. Ten of the `14 fatalities were investigated by troopers.

Troopers were also busy looking for impaired drivers. More than 225 drivers were arrested on charges of driving under the influence.

The six reported deaths occurred in five counties, including Blount, DeKalb, Limestone, Marengo and Chambers county in East Alabama. Alcohol was a factor in at least one of the fatal crashes. Seat belts were available for four of the six deaths and three were buckled during the crashes. Two others fatal crashes involved a motorcyclist and a pedestrian.

In Chambers County, 40-year-old Jason Franklin Elliott of Lanett was killed Sunday morning when the 2001 Honda motorcycle he was driving struck a 2008 GMC Sierra pickup truck driven by Scott Hilyer of Opelika. Hilyer was not injured in the accident which occurred at 11:40 a.m. on Chambers County 389, about a half-mile north of Cusseta, Ala.

Many of the crashes remain under investigation by Alabama Department of Public Safety.

To prevent accidents in Columbus, police stepped up enforcement to get impaired drivers off the roadways. The city also received help from state troopers in a collaborative effort.

Related stories:

Update: Woman killed in wreck was Russell County High School science teacher

Alabama highway wrecks prove fatal after failure to yield right of way

Soldier dies in motorcycle crash

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