The head-on collision of two vehicles on U.S. Highway 80 near Swainsboro about 6 p.m. Saturday claimed the lives of a mother and her 18-year-old son, both from Portal.
Three other people were hospitalized in critical condition, according to a Georgia State Patrol trooper investigating the crash. Those who died were Candy Renee Warren, 37, and Austin Lee Davis, 18, both of Portal.
Warren was driving a 2000 Saturn Ion westward about two miles outside of Swainsboro, from the direction of Twin City, when the wreck occurred, said Sgt. 1st Class Brad Mosher of GSP Post 19 in Swainsboro. Davis was Warren's front-seat passenger.
Meanwhile, a woman driving a Toyota pickup in the opposite direction later told Mosher that she was slowing down, looking to turn in at a dumpster convenience site near that location, and had used her turn signal.
"So I think she was actually stopped in the road, and this other vehicle comes up behind her," Mosher said.
The driver of the pickup, observing that a black SUV was approaching from behind and thinking it would hit her, "gunned it," driving forward to get out of the way, she reportedly told Mosher. Her vehicle was not physically involved in the crash, but he said she is a witness. He said he was not naming her in the initial accident report he is completing.
The approaching black SUV was a 2008 Ford Escape, driven by Sheena Vinette Huston, 30, of Swainsboro, which veered into the opposing lane. Mosher said he observed no skid marks indicating that Huston's vehicle skidded into the other lane.
"But by whatever means, it crossed the center line into the oncoming lane and struck Candy's car head-on," Mosher said.
A second passenger, Steve Macallin Thomas, 17, also of Portal or Garfield, was riding in the back seat of the car Warren was driving. Huston also had a passenger in the SUV, Terry Terrell Spikes, 31, of Swainsboro.
Thomas, Huston and Spikes were airlifted to Augusta University Medical Center.
"The three survivors out of this crash were all flown to Augusta, all in critical condition," Mosher said Monday.
He referred to Huston's Ford Escape as "the at-fault vehicle" but said that no charges are being filed at this time.
The State Patrol has assigned a Specialized Collision Reconstruction Team to the crash. SCRT reports are usually completed several months after an accident.
Joiner-Anderson Funeral Home & Crematory, which is handling funeral arrangements, identified the deceased woman as Candy Renee Warren Davis. The State Patrol had her last name as Warren.
Herald reporter Al Hackle may be reached at (912) 489-9458.