At least 18 killed on Georgia roads, waters over Memorial Day weekend

4-year-old from Cobb County among two drownings reported
A fatal crash near Lee Street and Tucker Avenue killed a 40-year-old man Saturday night in southwest Atlanta, according to police.

Credit: Ben Hendren for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Credit: Ben Hendren for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution

A fatal crash near Lee Street and Tucker Avenue killed a 40-year-old man Saturday night in southwest Atlanta, according to police.

Crashes killed 16 people and two others drowned, including a 4-year-old from Cobb County, over the Memorial Day weekend in Georgia, according to investigators.

The number of victims could increase as others fight to recover from injuries. But the number is down slightly from 2022 when 20 were killed on state roads and waterways during the same holiday weekend.

A 4-year-old was among two drownings reported in the state. Viraat Gosain wandered away during a family gathering in Lizella, about 10 miles outside of Macon, and fell into a swimming pool, according to the Bibb County Coroner’s Office. The boy was days away from his 5th birthday.

Also in Bibb County, the search continued Tuesday for a 20-year-old believed to have drowned in the Ocmulgee River just after 5:30 p.m. Sunday, the sheriff’s office said.

“Witnesses stated that they saw their friend floating behind them on an inner tube and when they looked away and then back, he was no longer there,” the Bibb sheriff’s office said in a social media post. “No one witnessed the male subject go into the river.”

The man was identified as Raymund Ellison Jr. of Centerville.

In southwest Atlanta, a 40-year-old driver was killed Saturday evening after he crashed into a large concrete pillar supporting the elevated MARTA train tracks, according to investigators.

Police responded to the wreck at around 11:45 p.m. near Lee Street and Tucker Avenue. When officers arrived, they found the vehicle off the road with its driver trapped inside and not breathing. The man, who was not publicly identified, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Early Sunday morning, a 32-year-old Marietta man was killed in a single-vehicle, fiery crash that critically injured a passenger, according to Cobb County police. Investigators said bystanders pulled three people out of the SUV before first responders arrived at the scene.

Around 6:15 a.m., James Graham was driving a white 2018 Maserati Levante north on John Ward Road. In a curve in the road, the Maserati swerved to the right and drove off the road, hit an embankment and caught fire, according to Officer Aaron Wilson with Cobb police.

“Bystanders were able to remove all of the occupants of the vehicle before it became fully engulfed in fire,” Wilson said in a statement.

Graham died from his injuries. Two passengers were being treated at Wellstar Kennestone Hospital.

Sunday at 9:45 p.m., state troopers were called to a two-vehicle crash on GA 120 at Fox Drive in Paulding County. A red passenger car and a motorcycle collided, killing the motorcyclist and injuring a passenger on the motorcycle, the Georgia State Patrol said.

Two hours later in Coweta County, deputies asked state troopers to assist with a pursuit of a motorcyclist who was speeding and didn’t have a license plate, the State Patrol said. The driver, Jarred Lee Jacobs, fled from Coweta deputies and troopers and attempted to change from the middle to the left lane, investigators said.

“The motorcycle struck a black Toyota Camry in the rear with its front causing debris from the impact to strike the hood of a trooper’s patrol vehicle,” the State Patrol said in a statement. “Due to the severity of the crash, I-85 South was closed for an extended amount of time.”

Jacobs died from his injuries.

At 8:20 p.m. Monday, troopers assisted the Bartow County Sheriff’s Office after a body was found along East Pleasant Valley Rod, the State Patrol said. Investigators believe the woman was a victim of a hit-and-run crash that may have happened days earlier.

Deadly crashes were also reported in Gwinnett and Cherokee counties, according to the Georgia Department of Public Safety. State troopers from various posts also investigated fatal crashes: Villa Rica, Monroe, Hazelhurst, Colquitt, Tifton and Dublin.