Victims Identified in Fatal Wreck - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

11/05/04

Victims Identified in Fatal Wreck

The scene of the wreck. The scene of the wreck.

Savannah-Chatham police say a drunk driver is responsible for a deadly overnight accident which killed three Ridgeland women. It happened on the US Highway 17 approach to the Talmadge Bridge at the Louisville Road exit.

The victims were three friends visiting Savannah. Police identified them as Arlene Chenneyfield, 51, Rose Marie Rivers, 65, and Helen Heyward, 80. Police believe the women were on their way home when the accident happened.

Police say the driver of a white Mustang was drunk, got into the wrong lane, and slammed head on into a red Mercury station wagon. "Investigators have not determined how or when exactly or what maneuvers were executed to have him going the opposite direction," said Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department spokesman Sgt. Mike Wilson.

Police say all three women inside the station wagon were dead when paramedics arrived. Firefighters had to use the Jaws of Life to get them out. "It was a horrible scene," said Wilson.

Police arrested the driver of the Mustang, 31-year-old Adam Cochran from Register, Georgia. He was wandering around the scene with minor injuries. He was taken to the hospital for a broken foot and cuts and bruises.

Unfortunately accidents involving a drunk driver happen all the time. According to the National Highway Safety Administration, every 30 minutes, nearly 50 times a day, someone in America dies in an alcohol-related crash.

"This is one of those instances where an irresponsible decision has resulted in the death of three people," said Wilson.

Last night's accident is the 19th fatal accident in Chatham County so far this year. This is the ninth fatal accident involving a drunk driver.

Cochran is expected to face additional charges in the three deaths.

Reported by: Michelle Paynter, mpaynter@wtoc.com

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