EFFINGHAM COUNTY, Ga. (WTOC) - Officials say a child has died after a crash on Highway 17 and Marlow Road that happened Wednesday night.
Officials say six others were injured in the two-vehicle crash, including another child.
Georgia State Patrol Corporal Shane Copeland says a Nissan Altima was traveling eastbound on Sandhill Road, trying to cross over GA Highway 17 to get onto Marlow Road. He says after looking at the damage, it appears the Altima did stop at the stop sign, but misjudged the turn, pulling out in front of a Ford F-150, sending the Altima into a tree.
“Based on what I’ve seen from the damage and the post collision distance traveled, it does not look like a high speed crash. We’re still doing some things to investigate and verify that," said Cpl. Shane Copeland, Georgia State Patrol, SCRT. “Based on the rotation of the vehicle after it got struck, there were two smaller children in the back seat who were unrestrained. As the vehicle began to rotate around in a clockwise direction, the children were ejected from the back window.”
Copeland says one of those children died. He says this part of his job is always the hardest.
“I’m a father of three myself and I’ve worked thousands of these, and it’s never easy. You ask anybody in my field, and it’s always different when it’s a kid because you can’t help but to see your own," Cpl. Copeland said.
He says this is an important reminder that seat belts save lives.
“The whole function of that seat belt is to help you ride down the energy. Time is the most important factor in a collision. The faster you come to come to a stop, the worse you’re going to be injured.”
We spoke with a neighbor who helped before paramedics arrived.
“We were just in the house and we heard the ‘BAM,’ in the crash. It was terrible. It was a bad accident," Lamar Coleman said.
Coleman has been living in the same area near the intersection of Marlow and Highway 17 for nearly 50 years. After hearing and seeing this fatal crash, he didn’t think twice about stepping in to help until EMS arrived on scene.
“We saw it and everything, and we tried to help and do everything we could. One of the victims was laying outside of the car and slung out, two of them were pinned in the back seat. They had to cut them out," Coleman said. “It doesn’t matter who it is or what color they are or whatever, it’s terrible when somebody gets into an accident out there.”
It’s feeling and scene he’ll never forget.
“Just shock. Just seeing what I saw, it was terrible.”
He says in the years he’s been living in the area, he has seen dozens of crashes at the same intersection.