Three serious motorcycle crashes have occurred in or near Hall County, Georgia in the past two weeks, two of them fatal.
On Wednesday, October 5, 2011 at approximately 7:30 p. m., Deputy Anthony Seda, 21, was killed in a motorcycle crash, according to a statement issued by the Hall County Sheriff’s Office.
Seda was traveling northbound on I-985 near Plainview Road when he apparently lost control of his motorcycle and collided into a guardrail. The officer was not on duty at the time and was navigating his personal cycle. The crash is currently under investigation of the Georgia State Patrol.
Originally from New Britain, Connecticut, Seda had been with the sheriff’s office for about a year. He is the second law enforcement officer to lose his life in a motorcycle accident in Hall County in under a month’s time. On September 24, Walton County Sheriff’s Deputy Lieutenant Darren Hester was killed while riding his motorcycle south on Cleveland Highway when a truck turning into a gas station parking lot collided with his bike. Hester’s wife was riding on the back of the bike when they were struck. She was airlifted to Atlanta Medical Center as a result of injuries sustained.
The driver of the vehicle, Robert Champine, 59, was arrested and faces several felony charges, including vehicular homicide, relating to the motorcycle crash.
Georgia State Patrol spokesman Gordy Wright said that Champine turned into the path of the Lt. Hester. Champine was arrested and taken to the Hall County jail and booked.
The third wreck took place last Sunday afternoon, October 2, on Highway 365/Alto Mud Creek Road in Habersham County which is just north of Hall County. Robert Jordan Elliott, 46, of Cornelia, Georgia was traveling north on Ga. Hwy 365 when a 1998 Chevrolet Monte Carlo entered the intersection going west on Alto-Mud Creek, striking him and his 2006 Kawasaki. According to the Georgia State Patrol, Teresa Jane Williams, 50, of Alto, Georgia, was charged with DUI and failing to yield when entering the roadway. The motorcycle struck the left front side of the car.
Elliott was taken to Northeast Georgia Medical Center in Gainesville and then transferred to Atlanta Medical Center, the same hospital Deputy Lieutenant Darren Hester’s wife was taken last month.
The 21-mile stretch of highway where the accident occurred is undergoing major repairs, including the replacement of crumbling gravel and loose asphalt. Earlier this year, the Georgia Department of Transportation issued a statement detailing the construction as well as cautioning drivers of the road hazards such as uneven pavement.
Though it is unclear whether or not the road conditions were a factor in this accident, motorcycle riders should remain vigilante at all times, remembering to downshift and reduce their speed when encountering problem areas.
Officials have seen an increasing need to not only gather traffic data in high-risk areas of Hall County, but establish law enforcement’s presence there as well.
At the beginning of this year, the Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety (GOHS) announced the ninety-day roll-out of the Thunder Taskforce a unit designed to help Georgia cities combat their abnormally high occurrences of traffic crashes, injuries and fatalities on local high-traffic corridors.