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4 dead during holiday period in Ga.

POSTED: December 7, 2008 5:00 a.m.

Four people have died on Georgia roads so far during this Thanksgiving holiday travel period, which lasts until midnight Sunday.

According to Georgia State Patrol numbers updated late Friday, there have been 1,028 accidents resulting in 262 injuries and four deaths. The fatal accidents occurred in Blue Ridge, Sylvania, Newnan and Hinesville.

The state patrol predicted 19 highway deaths during this year’s Thanksgiving travel period. Last year, 27 people died on Georgia roads during the same 102-hour span according to the patrol.

Two fatal accidents occurred in the Northeast Georgia area on Wednesday, just hours prior to the official beginning of the Thanksgiving weekend travel period, which started at 6 p.m. Wednesday.

At 9 a.m. Wednesday, 46-year-old Michelle Ford of Stockbridge was killed on Interstate 85 in Banks County when the southbound tractor-trailer she was in left the road, struck some trees and burst into flames. The accident occurred on I-85 at Martin’s Bridge Road.

At 2:25 p.m. Wednesday, 89-year-old John Sidney Hulsey of Cleveland died in a wreck in White County when the Chevrolet S-10 he was driving was struck from behind by a GMC Envoy driven by 25-year-old Sherri Yon of Demorest. No charges have been filed in the accident pending completion of the investigation. The wreck happened on Highway 115 at Leatherford Road.

The highest number of traffic deaths ever recorded for the Thanksgiving holiday period was 43 in 1969 and the lowest was four in 1949. During the past six years in Georgia, 111 people have been killed in traffic crashes during Thanksgiving holiday periods with 7,365 injuries reported in 18,823 traffic crashes.

Also during the holiday period, authorities will be cracking down on people not wearing seat belts. Based on traffic crash data compiled from the 2007 Thanksgiving holiday period, 13 of the 27 people who died in wrecks during that period were not using seat belts or other safety equipment while eight of those deaths involved driver impaired by drugs or alcohol.

"The best chance for surviving any car crash is a buckled safety belt," said Bob Dallas, director of the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety. "Even though Georgia has the highest safety belt compliance rate in the Southeast, we can still reduce the hundreds of needless traffic fatalities that occur here every year."



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