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Roads staying safe across area so far

POSTED: January 2, 2009 11:54 p.m.

The streets have remained safe so far this New Year’s holiday season, with no serious accidents in Hall County and few traffic arrests.

Statewide, there were 11 traffic deaths as of late Friday, with two days remaining in a holiday period in which the Georgia State Patrol predicted 20 highway fatalities. There have been 1,638 crashes involving 396 injuries in Georgia since Wednesday night, far below the prediction of 3,008 crashes with 1,350 injuries.

Hall County Sheriff’s spokesman Sgt. Kiley Sargent said deputies arrested five people on charges of DUI on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. There have been no accidents with serious injuries in Hall County, he said.

"It’s been pretty quiet so far," Sargent said.

Gainesville Police Sgt. Dean Staples said police arrested three people on charges of DUI during their New Year’s enforcement efforts. A total of 19 people were arrested at three road safety check points, most for driving without a license, he said.

One of Georgia’s 11 traffic deaths occurred in Gwinnett County around 9 p.m. New Years Day when the driver of a Ferrari lost control on a curve on Harmony Grove Road.

Russell E. Hays, 32, of Auburn was killed after his car flipped and caught fire. Cpl. Illana Spellman said toxicology tests are pending to determine whether alcohol was a factor.

Other traffic deaths occurred in Decatur, Dalton, Lafayette, Eatonton, Sylvania, Dublin and Americus, according to the Georgia State Patrol.

An accident Friday in Hoschton closed both lanes of Ga. 53 after a driver hit a telephone pole on Ga. 53 at about 1:15 p.m.

"She was driving erratically and ... hit the pole before anyone could get to her," said Braselton Police Chief Terry Esco.

The woman, whose name was not released, was taken to Northeast Georgia Medical Center for treatment, police said. There were no passengers in the car.

The 102-hour New Year’s holiday travel period run from 6 p.m. Dec. 31 to midnight Sunday.

Last year during the same time span, there were 3,108 crashes on Georgia roads with 1,250 injuries and 22 deaths.

Claire Miller of The Times regional staff contributed to this story.



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