Columbus police have determined that alcohol was a contributing factor in the fatal Sunday night crash on Interstate 185 that killed 24-year-old Meghann Smith of LaGrange.
Columbus Police Sgt. Fred Carnes confirmed that two of the three drivers involved were under the influence at the time of the 1:22 a.m. wreck, excluding the driver of the 2014 Kia Soul that Smith was riding in when it happened. DUI charges are pending further investigation, he added.
Authorities said the woman driving the Kia was headed north on Interstate 185 between JR Allen and Airport Thruway, while a West Point man in a 2002 Nissan Maxima was traveling south in the inside lane. The Maxima left the roadway and entered in the crash median, where it flipped before landing upside down in the northbound travel lanes and striking the Kia on the left side.
A Columbus man traveling in a 2012 Chevrolet Cruze was headed north on Interstate 185 in the far right lane while the Kia was still disabled in the roadway between the far right lane and the center lane. The Chevrolet struck the Kia head-on, causing the Chevrolet to ignite into flames, according to police.
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Smith was pronounced dead on the scene at 2:13 a.m. Sunday, confirmed Muscogee Chief Deputy Coroner Freeman Worley. The cause of death was given as blunt-force trauma pending an autopsy, he added.
The three other occupants in the Kia and the three passengers in the Maxima were transported to the hospital for treatment. They were all released by Monday afternoon, confirmed Columbus Regional spokeswoman Jessica Word.
A West Point woman who was struck by debris as she stood near the Cruze during the second crash was transported to Columbus Midtown Medical Center with visible injuries to her face, neck, jaw and elbows. Her condition is also unknown at this time.