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Coroner releases identity of Opelika car crash victims

Authorities have released the identities of the two people who died in a three-car crash in Opelika Tuesday afternoon.

LaDonna Vajda of Cusseta and Lakeisha Maddox of Tuskegee appear to have died from massive blunt force injuries after their cars collided at around 5 p.m. on Interstate 85, between the 57 mile marker and the 58 mile marker, near the Saugahatchee Country Club, Lee County coroner Bill Harris said.

Upon arrival, officers observed a 2000 black four-door BMW 328i lying on its passenger side across both lanes of traffic, a 2000 black four-door Lincoln LS facing south off the interstate on the improved shoulder and a 2003 brown four-door Mercedes in the outside lane of traffic facing north.

One of the vehicles was on fire, but it was quickly extinguished.

According to witnesses, the BMW, driven by Vajda, was travelling south on the interstate, when the she lost control of the car and crossed the median. It struck the Mercedes on the back left quarter panel, as well as the front end of the Lincoln, which was driven by Maddox.

Vadja was ejected from the vehicle and was pronounced dead at 5:15 p.m. Maddox was pronounced dead at 5:28 p.m.

Two other occupants of the Lincoln were also injured. One was transported to the East Alabama Medical Center by ambulance and another was transported to The Medical Center by Life Flight helicopter. Their condition is unknown at this time.

The four occupants of the Mercedes required no medical attention.

The bodies of the deceased will be transported to the medical examiner's office in Montgomery for autopsies. Funeral arrangements for Vajda, 55, will be announced later by Jeffcoat-Trant Funeral Home in Opelika. Funeral arrangements for Maddox, 28, will be handled by McKenzie's Funeral Home in Tuskegee.

The accident remains under investigation by the Opelika Police Department, Lee County Coroner's Office and the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences.

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