At least 25 people died in Georgia and Alabama during the Independence Day celebration that was extended 24 more hours than the holiday period last year.
Mary A. Gleghorn, a 65-year-old homeless Columbus woman, was the only death in the city for the 102-hour holiday period that started at 6 p.m. Friday and ended at 11:59 p.m. Tuesday. Gleghorn died just after midnight Monday at the scene when she was struck in the middle of 13th Street and First Avenue by a 2003 Ford F-150 pickup driven by a Smiths Station, Ala., woman.
The 17 Georgia deaths almost doubled the nine deaths during the shorter 78-hour holiday travel period in 2016. In Alabama, the eight deaths were the same as the death toll last year.
The Georgia State Patrol investigated 620 traffic crashes that resulted in 260 injuries and 11 fatalities. In addition to the death reported by the Columbus Police Department, four more deaths were reported by the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office, Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office, Gwinnett Police Department and the Atlanta Police Department.
In Alabama, authorities said seat belts were not in use in seven of eight deadly crashes investigated by Alabama State Troopers. The deaths included a pedestrian in Madison County, a 12-year-old passenger killed in St. Clair County and six drivers killed in Baldwin, Cherokee, Escambia, Marshall, St. Clair and Talladega counties.
No traffic death was reported in Phenix City or Russell County in Alabama.
All told, troopers said 328 people have died as of July 4, which is eight more deaths than the same period last year. Seat belts were available for 272 victims but only 95 were using seat belts at the time of the crashes. So far in 2017, more than two-thirds of those killed were not using seat belts.
The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency also said troopers assigned to the Marine patrol division are investigating one drowning on Lewis Smith Lake in Winston County.
Deaths totals may rise after local law enforcement agencies in Alabama submit their traffic crash statistics.