Savannah Man Dies in Head-on Collision - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

11/16/03

Savannah Man Dies in Head-on Collision

One Savannah man is dead, and another is in serious condition after a head-on collision on one of Chatham County's most dangerous bridges. It happened around 11:30 Saturday night on the Lazaretto Creek Bridge near Tybee Island.

50 year old Wilmington Island resident Ronald Porter died before he could be taken to the hospital.

"He was on his way to another job and had apparently crossed over the center line as they crested the hill," explained Sergeant Mike Wilson of the Savannah Chatham Police Department. "He crossed the center line into the path of an on coming vehicle driven by Mr. Hoffman and that is the primary cause of this wreck."

Emergency crews had to use the jaws of life to free 38 year old Carl Hoffman, the driver of the other car. He was airlifted to Memorial Health. Hoffman was listed in stable condition as of Sunday afternoon.

Police believe the devastating accident was caused by a very common problem: fatigue. "It does not appear that alcohol was a factor nor does it appear that speed was a factor, the crash analysis in this particular accident is consistent with two speeds colliding at 55 miles per hour," said Wilson.

Since bridges like the Lazaretto Creek bridge leave little room for drivers to react to a problem, accidents can often prove fatal; however, that's not the only problem drivers face when crossing over bridges. One of the things police say make the Lazaretto Creek bridge so dangerous is that it's difficult for drivers to see oncoming cars until they reach the top of the bridge.

"When you're crossing a bridge, especially with that type of elevation, you can't see on coming traffic, whether it's in your lane, once you hit the crest of that hill, you don't know what's on the other side of it," said Wilson.

This marks Chatham County's 13th traffic fatality this year.

Reported by: Nicole Teigen, nteigen@wtoc.com

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