Fewer fatal wrecks over Memorial Day weekend this year

One person was killed in a crash on I-85 in Atlanta late Sunday, investigators said.

Credit: Ben Hendren for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Credit: Ben Hendren for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

One person was killed in a crash on I-85 in Atlanta late Sunday, investigators said.

At least 11 people died on Georgia roads during the Memorial Day holiday weekend, according to state officials, a decline in traffic deaths from the totals of recent years.

In 2023, crashes across the state killed 16 people over the Memorial Day weekend and in 2022, the number hit 20, according to investigators.

This year, two crashes less than three hours apart in Atlanta killed two people late Saturday into early Sunday, according to investigators.

At around 11:50 p.m. Saturday, officers located a driver of a Kia Optima in critical condition after a hit-and-run crash on I-85 near the 17th Street overpass, police said. The driver later died.

“Preliminary investigation indicates that a Chevrolet Suburban traveling at the I-75/85 northbound split cut across the gore and entered I-85 NB,” Atlanta police said in a media release. “Upon doing so, the Chevrolet Suburban struck the Kia Optima, which was parked on the right shoulder.”

The driver of the Suburban did not stop, according to police.

Around 2:30 a.m. Sunday, officers were called to a single-vehicle crash near Boulevard and John Lewis Freedom Parkway, police said. The 30-year-old driver died from his injuries. Investigators believe the man tried to avoid a crash and lost control of his vehicle and struck a utility pole.

Also in Fulton County, the body of a pedestrian struck in an apparent hit-and-run crash was found around 3:30 a.m. on Flat Shoals Road near Oakley Road, according to the Georgia State Patrol. A witness told investigators she heard a collision and then saw the pedestrian on the ground. The crash remains under investigation and troopers believe a burgundy SUV may have been involved.

Police departments in Emerson, Calhoun and Clayton County investigated deadly crashes, according to the DPS. State troopers from posts in Marietta, Cartersville, Calhoun, Blue Ridge, Grovetown, Perry and Thomastown all investigated fatal crashes.

At least two people died in Georgia waters over the weekend.

On Sunday afternoon, a 33-year-old man died from an apparent drowning at Massengale Park beach on Saint Simons Island, the Glynn County fire department said. A lifeguard was alerted to a man in distress and pulled him from the water. The man was not conscious and despite life-saving procedures, died from his injuries at a Brunswick hospital.

On Monday afternoon, a body was found in a private pond in Muscogee County, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. Investigators believe the body may have been in the pond for at least two days.

Wardens cited 29 people for boating under the influence over the weekend. On Lake Allatoona, an 18-year-old operating a personal watercraft told investigators he jumped the wake of a larger vessel Monday afternoon and overturned, injuring his passenger, the DNR said. A woman, whose name was not released, was taken to the hospital for treatment.

Sunday night on Lake Lanier, two personal watercrafts collided, but the injuries were not serious, the DNR said.

Authorities investigated two drownings over Memorial Day weekend 2023.