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Weekend car wreck in Hall County kills 1

But so far, Georgia's roads are safer than last year's Labor Day

POSTED: September 6, 2009 11:20 p.m.

Labor Day hasn’t been as deadly as projected so far statewide, but one of the three people killed on Georgia’s roads was involved in a Hall County wreck.

Guadalupe Hernandez Vazquez, 58, of Gainesville was a passenger in the wreck that took place at 1:23 a.m. Saturday on Ga. 60/Candler Road near Lee Land Road in South Hall.

The driver of a vehicle traveling north on Ga. 60 crossed the center line and struck a vehicle heading south, said Operator Jared Baker with the Georgia State Patrol’s Gainesville post.

The wreck took place near Zack’s Food Rack, about three miles south of Gainesville.

Vazquez was riding in a Dodge Caravan. The other vehicle in the wreck was a Honda Accord.

Other details, including names of the drivers and their conditions, weren’t available Sunday. Both drivers were taken to Northeast Georgia Medical Center for treatment, Baker said.

The Georgia Department of Public Safety’s accident reporting period began at 6 p.m. Friday and will end at midnight today.

As of Sunday evening, patrol posts in Jasper and Milledgeville were reporting one fatality each.

Troopers have also worked 1,336 crashes involving 351 injuries.

The public safety department had estimated that 18 people would die on roads statewide during the holiday in 1,725 wrecks. Also, it was projected that 975 people would be injured.

Last year, 19 people died on Georgia roads and 798 were injured in 1,660 crashes.

Traffic statewide is expected to be heavy, said Col. Bill Hitchens, the state’s public safety commissioner.

Troopers and officers with the department’s Motor Carrier Compliance and Capitol Police divisions will focus on seat-belt and child-restraint violations, as well as looking out for impaired drivers.

“During the 2008 Labor Day holiday travel period ... 76 percent of the people killed in car crashes had no safety equipment in use,” Hitchens said, adding that four of the deaths were alcohol-related.

The state patrol office in Toccoa reported one fatal wreck that took place a few hours before the reporting period began.
At 2:30 p.m. Friday, two women were killed in a crash on Ga. 105 near North Falling Waters Drive in Cornelia.

The victims are Linda Buschmann, 66, of Demorest and Amanda Lee Johnson, 18, of Cleveland.

Buschmann was traveling north on Ga. 105 in her Buick Park Avenue when she crossed the center line and struck head-on the Ford Explorer SUV driven by Johnson, said Operator Linda Garrett.

Johnson, who was traveling south at the time, was flown to Grady Hospital in Atlanta; she later died. Buschmann died at the scene.
A 3-year-old girl in Johnson’s vehicle was taken to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Scottish Rite.

“She was treated, and I understand she’s at home now,” Garrett said.



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