Update: Nine people die on Georgia roads during New Years travel

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Roadside memorial at Church Street and S. Madison Avenue in Monroe where 12-year-old Sean Thomas died in a car accident the day after Christmas 2017. Photo credit: Melanie Ann Jackson

Update press release from Georgia Dept. of Public Safety

Traffic crashes across Georgia during the New Year’s holiday travel period resulted in 9 traffic deaths. The holiday travel period began at 6 p.m. on Fri., Dec. 29, and ended at 11:59 p.m. on Mon., Jan 1.

Statewide, Georgia State Troopers investigated 330 traffic crashes that resulted in 137 injuries, and 4 fatalities. In addition to the traffic crash investigations, 231 people were arrested for driving under the influence, while 6,542 citations and 10,680 warnings were issued.

Local agencies reporting traffic deaths during the holiday period were Richmond Co. S/O, Fulton Co. PD, Marietta PD, and Dekalb Co. PD.


By noon on Dec. 31, Georgia State Patrol reported five fatalities on Georgia roads during the New Year’s 78-hour travel period that began at 6 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 29, 2017. It ends at 11:59 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 1, 2018. Last year, eight people died over the same period. The Georgia Department of Public Safety is urging that party goes choose a sober driver if they plan to get on the roads.

Initial story

A small roadside memorial has sprung up on the corner of of Church Street and South Madison Avenue in Monroe marking the spot where 12-year-old Sean Thomas died the day after Christmas. He is one of the 15 deaths recorded on Georgia Roads during the Christmas holiday travel period, which began at 6 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 22 and ended at 11:15 pm. on Tuesday, Dec. 26. Sean died after being ejected from the car when his mother allegedly ran a red light and hit another vehicle. Jasmine Chandler, 34, of Monroe is  charged with DUI, first degree vehicular homicide, reckless driving, failure to obey traffic control device, open container and a seatbelt violation in connection with the wreck.

According to a press release from Georgia Department of Public Safety, statewide, Georgia State Troopers investigated 515 traffic crashes that resulted in 219 injuries, and 10 fatalities. In addition to the traffic crash investigations, 192 people were arrested for driving under the influence, while 7,323 citations and 12,313 warnings were issued. In addition to the 10 fatalities investigated by GSP including  the one in Monroe, five other fatalities were investigated by Gwinnett County Police Department, Richmond County Sheriff’s Office, Floyd County Police Department, Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office and Albany Police Department.

The 78-hour New Year’s holiday travel period gets underway at 6 p.m. on Friday., Dec. 29, and ends at 11:59 p.m. on New Year’s Day. Last year during consecutive 78-hour holiday periods, GSP reported 392 traffic crashes over the Christmas holiday period that injured 208 people and claimed the lives of eight people. This year during the 102-hour travel period almost double that number died. During the New Year’s period, eight people were also killed. There were 595 crashes and 289 injuries reported.
In addition to the traffic crash investigations last year, state troopers issued 6,469 citations and 12,429 warnings during the Christmas holiday, and issued 6,400 citations and 10,905 warnings during the New Year’s holiday.
“Most fatal crashes during a holiday period in Georgia involve an impaired driver, speed, or the person killed not utilizing a seat belt,” said Col. Mark W. McDonough.”  “In some crashes a combination of the contributing factors is found.”
During the holiday travel periods, troopers will be keeping a close watch for impaired drivers, speeders, people who are not wearing seat belts or buckling up children, and aggressive drivers.
“Drivers are also cautioned to avoid distractions inside the vehicle that would divert their attention from the road,” McDonough said. “Now through the end of the year is the time when we see a noticeable increase in the number of impaired drivers on our roads,” said Colonel McDonough.
During last year’s Christmas holiday period, 190 arrests were made for driving under the influence, and 289 people were arrested during the New Year’s holiday for the same offense.
“Choose a sober designated driver before partying or, if you plan to drive, don’t drink,” McDonough said.

The holiday traffic fatality count will be updated throughout the Christmas and New Year’s travel periods on the Department of Public Safety’s Twitter account: http://www.twitter.com/ga_dps.

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