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5 killed, including 3 children, in Athens Highway wreck
A wreck at Athens Highway and Oak Grove Road east of Gainesville has killed four people. Two others are injured. - photo by EMMA WITMAN

A Gainesville man and woman along with three children were killed in a two-vehicle crash late Monday morning on Athens Highway at Oak Grove Road, according to Georgia State Patrol officials.

Amanda Lynn Pardue, 34, and Robbie Adams Hollis, 52, both of Gainesville, died when their Ford Explorer crossed into the path of a tractor-trailer head-on. The children — ages 2, 8 and 13 — were also killed.

The five people were in the same vehicle, Georgia State Patrol Cpl. C.E. Parker said.

The tractor-trailer driver, Eric Franklin Eberhardt, 34, of Commerce, was treated for his injuries and released.

The crash occurred when the northbound Ford Explorer traveled across the median and struck the southbound tractor-trailer head-on, according to the Georgia State Patrol. The wreck left the tractor-trailer on its side across Athens Highway.

Pardue, who was driving, Hollis and two of the children were pronounced dead on the scene, Georgia State Patrol officials said.

The third child was flown to a hospital, said Trooper Jonathan Munger with the Georgia State Patrol.

Parker confirmed the child later died.

It is not clear why the SUV failed to maintain its lane, Munger said.

Randall Melton, a retired truck driver, was visiting a friend at the house on the corner of the intersection when the wreck happened.

“In my history of 35 years living in Hall County, I’ve seen about three tractor-trailers have issues there,” he said.

He was among a group of four who gathered on a hill overlooking the scene.

“You don’t ever expect this,” Melton said.

Down the hill, Sheila Young had gotten out of her car, where she was waiting for several minutes after traffic stopped.

Young’s husband operates a tractor-trailer. She frequently voices grave concern for his line of work, she said.

“I’ve never seen one clear across the street like that,” she said.

As news spread that multiple fatalities had been reported, Young clasped her hand over her mouth and nodded her head.

“I just pray for the families. That’s all you can do,” she said.