ALBANY – Twenty-six people, including seven in a Franklin County wreck Saturday, died over the 102-hour Independence Day holiday period, the state’s Department of Public Safety reported Monday.
The death toll was considerably higher than in 2018, when five people were killed over the much shorter 30-hour holiday period.
AAA Travel officials had predicted record-setting traffic on U.S. roads over the holiday period, which Georgia law enforcement officials set as the period from 6 p.m. Wednesday until 11:59 p.m. Sunday.
The deadliest single event was Saturday afternoon on Interstate Highway 85 in Franklin County when a northbound Ford Excursion entered the lanes for southbound traffic and slammed onto a Chevrolet van, forcing it into the path of a southbound Ford van.
A man, woman and 3-year-old child from Paulding County who were in the Excursion were killed, and three other children injured. Four men from Gainesville in the Chevy van were killed. There were no reported injuries among occupants of the Ford van, according to news reports.
Southwest Georgia fared well this holiday period. No traffic fatalities were recorded in Georgia State Patrol Troops G, which includes Albany, Americus and Thomasville, and H, which includes Tifton, Valdosta and Douglas.
Of the 26 fatalities, 17 were worked by GSP troopers. Post 52 (Hartwell) worked the Franklin County wreck, with Post 29 (Paulding) and 33 (Milledgeville) working two fatalities each. Single-death wrecks were worked by troopers with Posts 3 (Cartersville), 5 (Dalton), 26 (Thomaston), 44 (Forsyth), 19 (Swainsboro) and 23 (Brunswick).
Nine single-death wrecks were investigated by police departments in Atlanta, Cobb County, Gwinnett County, Clayton County and Savannah, and by sheriff’s offices in Bibb County, Columbia County, Richland County and Newton County.
Statewide, troopers investigated 513 traffic crashes that resulted in 307 injuries.
Additionally, troopers arrested 422 people for driving under the influence, issued 12,554 citations and handed out 16,846 warnings.