Six teens — five of whom were on the Screven County High football roster last year — were injured in a crash early Sunday morning on Buck Creek Road in Screven County.
Some are recovering from serious injuries, but two remain in the hospital awaiting surgery, according to friends and family.
Chance Alexander Harkins, 18, of Dogwood Drive in Sylvania, was slated for surgery Monday for pelvic injuries, said his father Shayne Harkins, via a Facebook post. He referred questions about the accident victims to that post Monday.
Harkins’ “minor brain bleed seems to have stopped, thank you Jesus,” Shayne Harkins wrote. His son “still needs prayers as well as TJ Heinemeyer.”
Both Harkins and Thomas (TJ) Heinemeyer remained in critical condition Monday, said Holly J. Smith, whose daughter is friends with several of the victims.
Harkins; Heinemeyer, 18, of Hound Dog Road in Sylvania; and Jeffrey Raymond Friese, 18, of Savannah Highway in Sylvania, all suffered head injuries, according to reports from Sgt. J.C. Lacienski of Georgia State Patrol Post 21.
Friese was driving a 2007 Ford F-150 eastbound on Buck Creek Road around 6:50 a.m. Sunday when his truck left the road, Lacienski said.
Passengers were Harkins, Heinemeyer, Hyrum Robert “Bobby” Hodges, 17, of Newington; Dylan Edward Koch, 18, of Sylvania; and a 16-year-old male.
All six suffered serious injuries, GSP reports stated.
According to MaxPreps.com, five of the teens were listed on the Gamecocks’ 2012 football roster. Harkins was listed as a defensive back; Heinemeyer and Friese as offensive linemen; Koch, as a linebacker; and the 16-year-old as a wide receiver.
Giving an update Monday, Smith said “TJ (Heinemeyer) hasn’t shown any improvement. Chance (Harkins) is doing a little better. They both need surgery, but the brain injuries are the priorities. (The 16-year-old’s) surgery went well and he is resting and hungry. Jeffrey (Friese) and his family went home so he could rest. Dylan (Koch) is staying at the hospital to be by Chance’s side and Bobby (Hodges) is still the hero.”
Hodges reportedly helped responding troopers identify the others in the truck, she said.
Lacienski’s report stated the truck was traveling “at an extremely high rate of speed” when it went off the road onto the south shoulder and into a ditch.
The truck traveled in the ditch around 624 feet before striking a private driveway with its undercarriage, becoming airborne.
A GSP dispatcher said the reports stated that the truck traveled 57 feet in the air before striking a small tree. Then it traveled 72 feet, hit a fence, entered a pasture where it traveled 336 feet before striking a second fence.
The truck began spinning counterclockwise, moving another 48 feet, before striking a second tree with its side, reports state.
Then it rotated clockwise another 18 feet before stopping in a wooded area.
All passengers were injured and taken to a hospital in Screven County, but some were transported to Georgia Regents Medical Center in Augusta, Smith said.
Harkins, Heinemeyer and Friese suffered head injuries; the juvenile suffered injuries to lower extremities; Koch suffered injuries to his upper extremities; and reports listed Hodges’ injuries as “unspecified.”
Harkins, Friese and Koch are charged with not wearing a seat belt, according to GSP reports. Friese is also charged with DUI, reckless driving and failure to maintain lane.
Holli Deal Bragg may be reached at (912) 489-9414.