Eight dead in seven overnight wrecks in metro Atlanta

Eight people were killed in seven separate wrecks across metro Atlanta Friday night and Saturday morning. A ninth metro motorist, a teen from Paulding County, died in a wreck late Friday afternoon in northwest Georgia, authorities said.

Four of those killed were on motorcycles, according to police.

The first of the wrecks happened about 10:20 p.m. Friday on Cobb Parkway in Marietta.

Marietta police spokesman Officer David Auld said Shawn Head was operating a 2002 Kawasaki ZK9 southbound when he lost control of the bike and left the roadway near the intersection with Polytechnic Lane.

Head, 46, of Winston, was taken to Wellstar Kennestone Hospital, where he was pronounced dead, Auld said.

No other vehicles were involved, according to Auld.

About the same time as the fatal motorcycle wreck in Marietta, one child was killed and several others injured when a sport utilily vehicle overturned on I-20 at the exit to Ga. 92 in Douglasville, according to Channel 2 Action News.

Several of those injured were airlifted from the scene.

Douglasville police told Channel 2 that a 7-year-old boy was killed, and that two girls, ages 6 and 13, were in critical condition at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston. A third girl, age 15, was in good condition at Egleston, and a 13-year-old girl was in critical condition at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Scottish Rite.

The woman driving the SUV was taken to Atlanta Medical Center with minor injuries, police told Channel 2.

“It appeared they may have missed their exit and tried to correct by cutting across the median and lost control of the vehicle,” Douglasville police Deputy Chief Gary Sparks told the station.

Douglas County Coroner Randy Daniel identified the child killed as Jamaul Lewis of Douglasville. The identities of those injured have not been released.

Shortly before midnight, three motorcycles and two cars were involved in a crash on I-285 southbound between Camp Creek Parkway and Washington Road, according to the Georgia State Patrol. Two of the motorcyclists were killed, and the third was injured, State Patrol spokesman Gordy Wright said.

Wright said a Honda Accord “experienced transmission trouble and was stopped in the first southbound lane from the median wall.” A Nissan Maxima was stopped behind the Honda, and both vehicles had emergency flashers activated, Wright said.

“Three motorcycles approached the vehicles in the travel lane,” he said.

“One motorcycle crashed into the rear of the Nissan, ejecting the motorcycle operator,” Wright said. “A second motorcycle struck the Nissan. A third motorcyle approached the scene, hit debris, overturned, slid for several hundred feet and the operator was thrown from his motorcycle.”

The Fulton County Medical Examiner’s office identified the two bikers killed as Kendrick Brown, 38, of Smyrna, and William Small, 48, of Lithia Springs. The third motorcyclist, Vernon Christopher Bliss, 43, of Douglasville, was injured, Wright said.

Around 12:15 a.m. Saturday, a 52-year-old man riding a bicycle on a Paulding County highway was struck and killed, Wright said.

He said the man, whose name was being withheld until relatives could be notified, was riding eastbound on Ga. 6 near Wayside Lane when his bicycle was hit from behind by a 2006 Pontiac G6 driven by Lindsay Harris, 20, of Hiram. That crash remains under investigation, Wright said.

About 1:30 a.m. Saturday, Roswell police got a call about a motorcycle being driven recklessly on Ga. 400 northbound, and responding officers found the bike wrecked near Mansell Road, according to police spokeswoman Lisa Holland.

Holland said the motorcycle apparently clipped a wall, causing a female passenger to fall off and be hit by another car, killing her.

The biker, identified as David Neil Howell, also fell off, but did not suffer life-threatening injuries. Holland said he was released from the hospital and arrested, charged with DUI, reckless driving, failure to maintain lane and first-degree vehicular homicide.

His passenger was identified by the Fulton Medical Examiner’s office as Sarah Howell, 28, of Alpharetta. She was David Howell’s sister, Holland said.

Holland said investigators are searching for a black 2005 Jeep Liberty involved in the accident that failed to stop. There should be damage to the front passenger side of the vehicle, she said.

The State Patrol is also investigating a 3 a.m. single-vehicle wreck in Coweta County that killed one teen and injured three others, Wright said.

He said a 1998 Toyota 4-Runner driven by 17-year-old Joseph Brian Shelnutt of Newnan ran off Smokey Road near Country Lane and overturned several times.

A 16-year-old passenger in Shelnutt’s vehicle, Austin Walker Pope of Franklin, was killed, Wright said.

Shelnutt and two other passengers, Braxton Kexavier Tucker, 17, of Grantville, and Andrew Daryl Mask, 17, of Newnan, were injured and take to Atlanta Medical Center for treatment.

Atlanta police are investigating a fatal wreck that happened about 8:30 a.m. on I-285 northbound near Martin Luther King Jr. Drive.

The driver of an SUV lost control while changing lanes, and the vehicle flipped over, Atlanta police spokesman John Chafee said.

Chafee said the driver, whose name has not been released, died on the way to a local hospital.

Wright said an 18-year-old from Dallas was killed Friday afternoon in a single-vehicle wreck on I-75 in Whitfield County.

A Suzuki Sidekick driven by Jarrett Lee Williams had a blow-out on the left rear tire, Wright said.

“The driver jerked the steering wheel and lost control,” Wright said. “The vehicle rotated off the roadway and the driver’s side struck a tree.”

Williams died at the scene.

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