More details have been released by the Columbus Police Department in the deaths of two men who were killed Monday night when their car collided with a commercial truck on Victory Drive.
A report from the department says Antonious Dowsey, 23, and JaQuan Harris, 23, both of Columbus, died after the 2002 Mercury Grand Marquis driven by Dowsey struck a logging tractor-trailer at the intersection of Victory Drive and Jackson Avenue.
Dowsey and Harris died suddenly after their car — which the report indicates was “exceeding the speed limit” — struck the logging trailer, with it sliding underneath the trailer and crushing the top of the car. The vehicle continued about 556 feet before coming to a rest. Dowsey was wearing a seat belt, while Harris was not, and both of their airbags deployed.
There is no indication on the report how fast Dowsey’s vehicle was traveling. The speed limit on Victory Drive approaching the Jackson Avenue intersection from the southeast is 45 mph. At the intersection, it drops to 35 mph as Victory Drive enters an area with two major curves.
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The fatal collision occurred just after 7 p.m. Monday as the truck driver was making a left turn across three lanes on Victory Drive onto Jackson Avenue. A diagram with the police report shows Dowsey braked suddenly before striking the logging trailer at a slight left angle, with the mangled car then veering to the right toward a small retaining wall adjacent to Riverdale and Porterdale Cemeteries before stopping.
The report stated no citations were issued to the truck driver by the Columbus Police Department. However, an officer with the Georgia Department of Public Safety’s Motor Carrier Compliance Division issued two citations to the truck driver, one for a “commercial vehicle driver qualifications violation” and the other for a “commercial vehicle parts and accessories violation.”
There were two witnesses to the collision, the report said. They were traveling in a vehicle a short distance behind Dowsey. They said they saw the truck making its turn, but not the logging trailer behind it.
“They stated that there were no lights on the trailer and they did not see it until they saw the tail lights,” the police report said of the witnesses, who commented that “debris went everywhere,” forcing them to swerve around it.
The bodies of Dowsey and Harris had to be extricated from the severely damaged vehicle, the report said, with both pronounced dead at the scene by Muscogee County Deputy Coroner Charles Newton at 9:40 p.m. and 9:41 p.m., respectively.
Both men were transported to state labs in Atlanta for autopsies and toxicology tests. Muscogee County Coroner Buddy Bryan said the results are still pending as the investigation continues.
“Of course, with a case like this we know the manner of death is going to be accidental and the cause of death is going to be blunt force trauma,” Bryan said. “But they will still do toxicology to let us know what was in their system.”