Gwinnett sees no fatal wrecks over holiday

LAWRENCEVILLE - Despite heavy traffic from holiday travelers, officials were pleased to report there were no fatal accidents in Gwinnett County over Memorial Day weekend.

Statewide the number of fatal wrecks was also down, from 32 in 2005 to 17 this year. There were 764 injuries resulting from 2,684 crashes in Georgia this year, said Bob Dallas, director for the Governor's Office of Highway Safety. The Georgia State Patrol had predicted 18 deaths during the holiday driving period which began at 6 p.m. Friday and ended Monday at midnight.

"Obviously we are certainly happy the number is substantially less than it was last year," Dallas said. "We're certainly glad we did less than what the state patrol predicted also, but we are disappointed we had 17 deaths."

The worst accident was in Atlanta on Saturday, Dallas said, when four men were ejected after their car ran off Moreland Avenue, struck a hill and flipped. None of the occupants in the vehicle were wearing seat belts, Dallas said.

Cpl. Darren Moloney, spokesman for the Gwinnett County Police Department, said the increased visibility of police officers probably contributed to the decrease in fatalities.

"Between the Governor's Office (of Highway Safety) really getting the word out and our units being visible out there it helped," Moloney said. "When we do road checks, we are out there in the open. We want people to see us so they'll slow down."

Last year, a 15-year-old was killed when her brother crashed his car on Simonton Road in Lawrenceville. A 24-year-old Lawrenceville man also died over Memorial Day weekend last year when his car hit a median and then plunged 300 feet into the Oconee River near Athens.