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Fifth person dies after Hall County wreck
athens hwy wreck gville
A wreck at Athens Highway and Oak Grove Road east of Gainesville has killed four people. Two others are injured. - photo by Emma Witman

Five people, including three children ranging from ages 3 to 12, were killed in a wreck late this morning on Athens Highway at Oak Grove Road, according to Georgia State Patrol officials.

The five people were in the same vehicle, Georgia State Patrol Cpl. C.E. Parker said late Monday afternoon.

A Ford Explorer was traveling north on Athens Highway when it traveled across the median and struck the southbound tractor-trailer head-on, according to the Georgia State Patrol. The wreck left the tractor-trailer on its side across the roadway.

The driver, passenger and two children in the Ford Explorer were pronounced dead on the scene, said Trooper Jonathan Munger with the Georgia State Patrol. Both children were younger than 10 years old.

The third child was flown to a hospital, Munger said. But officials confirmed the child died later.

It is not clear why the SUV failed to maintain its lane, Munger said.

Randall Melton, a retired truck driver, was visiting a friend at the house on the corner of the intersection when the wreck happened.

“In my history of 35 years living in Hall County, I’ve seen about three tractor-trailers have issues there,” he said.

He was among a group of four who gathered on a hill overlooking the scene.

“You don’t ever expect this,” Melton said.

Down the hill, Sheila Young had gotten out of her car, where she was waiting for several minutes after traffic stopped.

Young’s husband operates a tractor-trailer. She frequently voices grave concern for his line of work, she said.

“I’ve never seen one clear across the street like that,” she said.

As news spread that multiple fatalities had been reported, Young clasped her hand over her mouth and nodded her head.

“I just pray for the families. That’s all you can do,” she said.