Georgia State Patrol reports that 18 people died on Georgia roads over the 102- hour New Years travel period that ended at midnight on Jan. 1, 2019. This compares to the 5 people who died over the 78-hour travel period last year. The travel period over Christmas and New Year was a full 48 hours longer than last year, but it took a much heavier toll. Last year, a total of just 17 people died in accidents compared to 44 this year.
By 6 a.m. on Jan. 1, 2019, deaths on Georgia roads during the travel period had reached 15, triple the five deaths reported over the same period last year. Christmas period travel fatalities, at 26, were more than double the 11 reported in 2017. The travel period for the 2018/2019 New Year’s travel ends at midnight on Jan. 1, 2019.
As of 6 a.m. on Dec. 31, 2018, 11 people had died on Georgia roads over the New Year’s travel period, including an 18-year-old who died when his car ran into a retention pond following an alleged strong-armed robbery in Gwinnett County. Gwinnett County Police Department identified the victim as Jaylen Purge of Duluth.
According to GCPD, just after 6 p.m. on Dec. 30, a GCPD officer saw a vehicle leaving a parking lot at a high rate of speed while being chased by several people on foot. The officer began to follow the vehicle and put the message out to other officers on the road. When one of the other officers tried to initiate a traffic stop, the vehicle left the roadway and disappeared into the wood line near Steve Reynolds Blvd. and Pavilion Place. It was located upside down in a retention pond, almost fully submerged. Gwinnett County Fire Department was called in and the victim was removed from the vehicle and transported to the hospital, but he did not survive. The investigation later revealed that he had allegedly committed a strong arm robbery at the Italian Pie restaurant on Beaver Ruin Road in Lilburn. The robbery, as well as the accident, are still under investigation.
By 6 p.m. on Dec. 30, 2018, 10 people had already lost their lives in traffic accidents on Georgia roads during the New Year’s Eve travel. This is already double the five lives lost over the full 78-hour travel period in 2017. Christmas holiday travel also had more than double the number of fatalities of 2017.
At 6 p.m. on Saturday, Georgia State Patrol reported three deaths on Georgia roads during the 102-hour New Years Eve travel period that began a 6 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 28, 2018, including the one in Loganville.
Fatalities have already exacted a heavy toll on drivers this holiday travel period with traffic crashes across Georgia during the Christmas holiday travel period resulting in 26 traffic deaths. With the New Year’s Eve holiday travel period beginning at 6 p.m. tonight, Georgia State Patrol is urging drivings not to drink and drive.
This year, the Christmas travel period was 126-hours long, beginning at 6 p.m. on Fri., Dec. 21, and ending at 11:59 p.m. on Tues., Dec. 26. Statewide, GSP troopers investigated 700 traffic crashes that resulted in 333 injuries and 14 fatalities. Post 46 in Monroe investigated two separate traffic fatalities in Rockdale County during that period. In addition to the traffic crash investigations, 285 people were arrested for driving under the influence, while 9,978 citations and 15,888 warnings were issued. An additional 12 deaths were reported during the Christmas travel period by Atlanta PD; Gwinnett Co. PD; Columbia Co. S/O; DeKalb Co. PD (2); Clayton Co. PD; Savannah PD (2); Lawrenceville PD (2); Dade Co. S/O; and Floyd Co. PD. In 2017, just 11 traffic fatalities were reported statewide.
The 102-hour New Year’s holiday period will begin at 6 p.m. tonight, Fri., Dec. 28, and will end at 11:59 p.m. on Tues., Jan. 1. During the 2017 New Year’s holiday travel period, which was 78-hours long, GSP worked 370 wrecks that resulted in 205 injuries and five fatalities. In addition, troopers issued 6,542 citations, 10,680 warnings, and arrested 234 people for driving under the influence.
Colonel Mark W. McDonough, Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Safety said, “State troopers will be keeping a close eye out for motorists breaking state traffic laws and exercising bad driving habits that could potentially cause a fatal crash.”
Troopers are cautioning drivers to plan for a sober designated driver if alcohol consumption will be part of your holiday celebrations. If you do not have a designated driver, call a taxi, rideshare, a friend, or family member to help you get home safely.
“This is a festive time of the year and we want everyone to enjoy the holiday season, but we also want everyone to be safe out on our roads,” McDonough said.
During the holiday period, an updated traffic fatality count will be published on the Department of Public Safety’s Twitter page: http://www.twitter.com/ga_dps.