Columbus men killed after top of car sheared off in crash near cemeteries on Victory Drive

Two Columbus men were killed Monday night when the car they were in collided with a tractor-trailer truck on Victory Drive, shearing off the top of their vehicle as it hit the trailer and slid underneath it.

The fatalities occurred at the intersection of Victory Drive and Jackson Avenue, which is near the Riverdale and Porterdale cemeteries entering a curvy area of the four-lane highway. The tractor-trailer apparently was turning left, crossing Victory Drive onto Jackson Avenue, just after 7 p.m. Monday when the Mercury Grand Marquis slammed into it, continuing some distance before coming to a stop.

“The car went on through under the truck and came out the other side,” said Muscogee County Deputy Coroner Charles Newton, who was called to the scene just after 9 p.m. “It had gotten dark and the initial accident happened there ... (Police officers) just followed the trail down (the roadway) and discovered the car, and then that’s when they found the two young men in the car.”

Newton confirmed the identities of the two men Tuesday morning. They are Antonious Dowsey and JaQuan Harris, both age 23 and residents of Columbus.

Dowsey, the driver of the car, was confirmed dead by Newton at 9:40 p.m., while Harris, the passenger, was confirmed dead at 9:41 p.m. The bodies of both are being sent to Atlanta for autopsies as the investigation continues.

“They will be going this afternoon for the autopsy tomorrow,” said Newton, who could not confirm if alcohol or drugs were a factor in the crash. “That’s one of the reasons they’re sending them to toxicology for alcohol and drugs is to make sure there was none in their system, and I’m sure the driver of the truck has been tested, too.”

The speed limit heading west on Victory Drive drops from 45 mph to 35 mph at the Jackson Avenue intersection, although vehicles often can be seen continuing at a higher rate of speed into the two major curves that lie ahead on the roadway.

Victory Drive was blocked for some time after the accident as police and the coroner worked the scene, Newton said.