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Two die in I-85 accident

LaGRANGE - Investigators in Troup County are working to determine what caused a motor vehicle accident that left two Norcross women dead and another 14 injured Sunday morning.

Jeff Cook, Troup County coroner, said the driver of the van drove off the road into trees alongside Interstate 85 north in LaGrange four miles south of Hogansville.

He said two women were pronounced dead at the scene, seven were transported by ambulance to West Georgia Medical Center, three were flown to Columbus Medical Center and the four were flown to Grady Hospital in Atlanta. The remaining four were not seriously injured.

Cook said the identities of the women are being withheld until their families are notified, and he was not able to release the type of injuries the women received.

He said there is no sure reason why the driver drove off of the road.

"I don't know why they ran off the road," Cook said. "One passenger said the tire blew out, but investigations show the tire was punctured by the fender after the van was off the road, so I'm not sure right now what happened."

The vehicle is believed to be a 2001 Dodge Ram. Cook said the van was carrying about 20 Hispanic women from Norcross who told Georgia state troopers they were on their way back from Florida.

"Some of the women, who barely spoke English, said they were coming back on their way to Norcross from Tampa, others said from Pensacola, but I really don't have a clear, concrete idea of what they were doing," he said.

Cook was able to confirm that 41-year-old Maria Mejica-Melgar of Norcross was the driver of the van and was conscious at the time of the accident.

Whether the women were friends or family members, Cook was not sure of their relation.

He said seat belts were provided in the van but he was unsure if the women were wearing them.