Two head-on collisions within three hours of each other Saturday night claimed the lives of three area residents and injured two others, said Ware County Sheriff Randy Royal.
Mary Alice Maxwell, 58, of Folkston, died in a 7:42 p.m. head-on collision on U.S. 1 about two miles north of the Ware-Charlton county line, Royal said.
Less than three hours later, George W. White III, 49, and Julissa Mae Hall, 22, were killed in a crash on the Telmore-Dixie Union Road, said Royal.
Billy Joe Davis, 43, of Jacksonville, Fla., was taken by Ware County Emergency Medical Service ambulance to Mayo Clinic Health System in Waycross for treatment of injuries he sustained in the accident on U.S. 1 South, Royal said. His passenger, Gwendolyn Davis, 48, was taken by helicopter to UF Health in Jacksonville, Fla., for treatment of serious injuries, the sheriff said.
In the 10:18 p.m. accident on Telmore-Dixie Union Road, Hall, driving a 2001 Chevrolet Silverado, was eastbound when her truck ran off the roadway on the westbound side. The sheriff said she re-entered the roadway and collided head-on with a 1993 Chevrolet pickup truck driven by White as he was westbound on the roadway. The Hall vehicle then overturned, the sheriff said.
Both were killed on impact, he said.
Ware County Fire Capt. Joe McPhaul and his crew of firefighters, Andrew McGhin, Santo Nino and Jason White, used the Hurst “Jaws-of-Life” extrication tool to free both of the victims from the wreckage.
“Just prior to the accident, investigators determined that Ms. Hall was texting on her cell phone,” Royal said.
Ware County Coroner Atha Lucas pronounced Hall dead at 11:32 p.m. and White at 11:33 p.m., the sheriff said.
Ware County 911 and Charlton County 911 both received calls about a driver headed north in the southbound lanes of U.S. 1 inside Charlton County. By the time deputies arrived in an effort to stop the wrong-way driver, the crash had already occurred, Royal said.
Maxwell, driving a 2002 Nissan Altima, was driving northbound in the southbound lanes of U.S. 1, Royal said. The Maxwell car collided head-on with the Davis vehicle, a 2010 GMC Yukon, the sheriff said.
Both vehicles were heavily damaged in the crash, Royal said.
Georgia State Patrol Trooper Sherman McClaine investigated the Telmore-Dixie Union crash, assisted by Ware County Deputy Devon Rios.
Trooper Jeffrey Robinson investigated the U.S. 1 crash, assisted by Ware County Deputy Dave Hanson.
“These were terrible life-changing tragedies for three families,” said Royal. “Our hearts and our prayers go out to all of them.”