Channel 2's Steve Gehlbach reports.

Alcohol believed a factor in deadly wrong-way crash on Ga. 400

Alcohol is believed to be a factor in the wrong-way crash that killed one woman and sent another to the hospital Sunday morning on Ga. 400, officials said.

Forsyth County Deputy Robin Regan said 911 calls from motorists alerted authorities to the Honda Accord driving south in the northbound lanes, but there wasn’t enough time to prevent the deadly crash.

“We had multiple 911 calls, and deputies were responding to the area,” he said. “Just after receiving the 911 calls, the crash occurred.”

Regan said the collision happened shortly after 4 a.m. near the exit for Ga. 20. According to a news release, 21-year-old Cumming resident Maria Gonzalez was driving the wrong way on Ga. 400 when she struck the Nissan Exterra driven by 27-year-old Ashley Held head-on.

Gonzalez was pronounced dead at the scene.

Held’s SUV rolled onto its side during the crash, and she had to be extricated by firefighters. She was taken to Grady Memorial Hospital, where she was initially in critical condition but later upgraded to “serious.”

There were no other passengers in either vehicle.

Regan said the crash remained under investigation but alcohol was “suspected as a factor.”

The incident was the second fatal wrong-way crash in metro Atlanta in as many days.

Early Saturday morning, a DeKalb County police officer died after his vehicle was hit head-on by a wrong-way driver. The officer, Kevin Toatley, was driving westbound on South Fulton Parkway at about 12:30 a.m. when an SUV struck his patrol car near the Buffington Road exit.

Five people, two of them juveniles, were in the wrong-way vehicle. On Saturday, one woman in the car was in critical condition.

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