Fatal I-16 crash: driver traveled as much as 5 miles the wrong way

Georgia Southern students Garrett Harris (left) and Jack Deacon Harris were killed in a car crash on I-16 Sunday, the GSP said.
Georgia Southern students Garrett Harris (left) and Jack Deacon Harris were killed in a car crash on I-16 Sunday, the GSP said.

Credit: GoFundMe

Credit: GoFundMe

Service for Cobb brothers Saturday

Investigators believe a Sandy Springs man could have been heading the wrong way down a rural stretch of I-16 for as much as five miles before fatally crashing into a car carrying two Cobb County brothers.

A report from the Georgia State Patrol acquired by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Friday details the wreck that killed Jack “Deacon” Harris, 20, and Garrett Harris, 18.

Investigators took blood samples from 27-year-old Jared Adler to check for drugs, according to the crash report. Results have not yet been released.

READ | Memorial set for Cobb brothers killed on holiday drive back to college

Tracey Watson, a GSP spokeswoman, said Adler has not been charged with any crime and the investigation is ongoing.

A nurse at Navicent Health Medical Center in Macon, where Adler was taken after the crash, confirmed that he was discharged on Thursday.

The AJC left a message for him on Wednesday.

Read more about the brothers and their lives before and after moving to Statesboro on myAJC.com.

The collision happened at mile marker No. 34 in Laurens County, between Warner Robins and Dublin, the report said.

The Harris brothers were heading back to school at Georgia Southern University after Thanksgiving.

They were heading east toward Statesboro about 1:15 a.m. Sunday — their father told the university's newspaper that they left at that time to avoid traffic — when Adler slammed into them heading the wrong way, the report said.

This is a rural stretch of the interstate, which has two lanes heading each direction separated by a cable barrier on a grassy median.

It isn’t clear from the report how long Adler was driving against traffic, but investigators said there was no evidence he crossed over the cables nor crossed over the median and the closest access ramps to I-16 are five miles east of the crash site.

READ | Family of Cobb crossing guard: “Whatever it takes” to improve safety

After the impact, the Harris brothers were trapped inside their car, which caught fired and “burned severely,” the report said.

Officers noted that there are no signs Deacon Harris, the brother who was driving, contributed to the crash or was in any way distracted.

Adler was incapacitated in his vehicle and had to be removed with the Jaws of Life before being taken to the hospital in Macon, investigators wrote.

Watson said GSP’s Specialized Collision Reconstruction Team is handling the investigation.

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