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Local teen among holiday fatalities
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Forsyth County News

A 16-year-old Forsyth County resident was one of two people killed Monday afternoon in a Hall County wreck.

According to the Georgia State Patrol, Christian J. Walker of Cumming and 14-year-old Brandon Jay Hodges of Lawrenceville died when a Jeep overturned on Whelchel Mill Road in northwestern Hall.

The teens were among the 19 fatalities statewide over the 78-hour July Fourth holiday weekend.

One of the other deaths also occurred in Hall County, and a fourth resulted from a wreck Saturday night in Dawson County.

By comparison, authorities said it was a relatively quiet holiday weekend in Forsyth County.

The local fire department handled a couple of blazes, including one at a home in the Vickery community.

In Monday afternoon’s fatal wreck in Hall, the teenagers were unrestrained passengers in the Jeep, which left the dirt road in a curve, the state patrol said.

The Jeep hit an embankment and overturned several times. Three other people were injured.

No charges have been filed yet against the 19-year-old driver, whose name has not been released.

The incident remains under investigation, the state patrol said.

The GSP is also investigating a fatal, two-vehicle wreck Saturday night on Hwy. 53 in western Dawson County.

Dawson County Coroner Ted Bearden said 27-year-old Michael Martinez Moreno of Dawsonville was pronounced dead at Northside Hospital-Forsyth, where he had been taken following the collision.

The crash, which occurred about 10:30 p.m., injured at least three other people, including a toddler.

According to the state patrol, Moreno was traveling west on Hwy. 53 when his Ford F-150 pickup was struck by an oncoming Dodge Caravan that had crossed the centerline in a curve just east of Young’s Place.

As of Tuesday, no charges had been filed.

The damage from the fire early Sunday at the Vickery home was limited to a room above the three-car garage, fire officials said.

"It’s under investigation," said Fire Capt. Jason Shivers of the blaze, which occurred about 3 a.m. Sunday.

"All indications are that it was started in the upper living space of the garage, but there was nothing about it that was suspicious."

None of the vehicles in the garage were damaged.

A mobile home on Piney Grove Road was not so fortunate.

Shivers said the cause of the Saturday afternoon fire is still being determined, but appears to have been accidental.

No one was home during the blaze and there were no injuries, Shivers said.

Other than the fires, Shivers said the department had few calls over the holiday weekend.

"I would hope our efforts, not just from fire, but from all public safety, have been well received and I would like to think that some of that effort is paying off in reduced events and reduced injuries," he said.

Forsyth Sheriff’s Capt. Tim House said deputies issued just four citations for driving under the influence between July 1-4.

"It was also relatively quiet for us this weekend," he said.