Two families are dealing with heartbreaking news, less than a week before Christmas. Four people, including two children, were killed in Effingham County on Tuesday night when a car collided with a logging truck in Egypt, just north of Guyton.
The Georgia State Patrol says Courtney Roberts, a 26-year-old woman from Pooler, and her two little boys, ages 18 months and four months, crossed the center line with their car and hit a logging truck head on. They were killed along with driver of the truck, 31-year-old Odell Slournoy from Waynesboro.
Investigators know how it happened, but what no one knows is why it happened.
"My heart just went out to them," explained Sandra Sydow, from the nearby town of Oliver. "It was awful. I can't imagine having to go through that."
Sydow heard the emergency responders from her house. The wreck happened just down the road, which is heavily traveled by logging trucks. The truck burst into flames and ran off the side of the road. No one, including Roberts' two baby boys, survived.
"When I heard what happened," said Sydow, "I was really concerned for the drivers' family. Both families."
Police shut down the road for more than seven hours while they cleaned up and tried to make sense of what happened.
"It was a mess," added Sydow. "There was just so much traffic. I didn't realize Oliver had that much traffic in it."
Now, all that remains of the accident is a burned-out section of grass and broken tree limbs, off the side of Highway 17.
Georgia State Patrol says they don't know why the car crossed into the path of the logging truck and they may never know.
"It's got to be devastating," Sydow said. "Any time of the year is bad, but Christmas is double."
"We look more or less for safety value for the traveling public," said Carl Hillyard, the safety enhancement coordinator with the Georgia Department of Transportation, who came to survey the accident scene.
Hillyard documents accidents for the Georgia DOT with his camera. He covers 24 Georgia counties and this is one of the worst accidents he's ever seen.
"It's tough. It really is," he admitted. "It's tough."
Hillyard said it didn't appear anything on the road contributed to the accident; however, it does bring to mind an important lesson for all drivers.
"Just drive safe," he said.
The Georgia State Patrol thought Roberts could have fallen asleep behind the wheel or was tending to one of her children at the time of the crash, but they may never know for sure. They do advise drivers, when you're sharing the road with truck traffic, be especially careful since trucks need more time and space to stop in an emergency.