A Waycross man was injured Thursday when his truck ran into a pile of asphalt on a segment of Johnny Minchew Road that was closed for railroad repair, said Ware County Sheriff Randy Royal.
Austin Wade Strickland, 20, of Otter Road, Waycross, at first thought he was not injured in the 11:53 p.m. accident. Royal said, however, after walking around a little, he began to have symptoms of head and back injuries. He was taken by Ware County ambulance to Mayo Clinic Health System in Waycross for treatment, said Royal.
Driving a 2002 Ford Ranger, Strickland told lawmen he was eastbound on Johnny Minchew Road approaching railroad tracks and did not see a sign notifying of construction ahead. When he finally saw a knocked-over “road work” sign he applied his brakes, but not soon enough to avoid hitting the asphalt mound.
The rail crossing work started Monday and is to be completed today. Drivers have been advised to use U.S. 1 at the other end of Johnny Minchew Road as an alternate route.
Deputy Frank Moran investigated the accident.
Meanwhile, in a recent single-vehicle wreck a driver who was distracted by his cell phone ran off Mt. Pleasant Road Sunday just before midnight and struck several concrete structures at the Mt. Pleasant Cemetery, said Royal.
James Edward Thigpen, 25, of Gobbler Lane, Waycross, suffered no injuries in the crash, said Royal, adding to quell a rumor that no alcohol was involved.
Driving a 2004 Ford F150 pickup truck, Thigpen was northbound on Mt. Pleasant Road when he looked at his cell phone and ran off the road into the cemetery. Royal said the truck struck and damaged a red brick wall at the entrance to the cemetery.
Continuing, the truck hit three concrete posts connected with cables and struck five grave headstones, some of which had slabs attached, causing extensive damage, said Royal.
Thigpen was charged with distracted driving, driving on the wrong side of the road, inattention to driving and failure to maintain a lane, said Royal.
The man’s insurance carrier was contacted and an appraiser has visited the cemetery to evaluate the damage, Royal said. He declined to estimate how much damage was caused.