Second wrong-way driver of the weekend turns fatal

Published 8:15 pm Monday, April 15, 2024

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Interstate 85 near LaGrange had a wild weekend with two wrong-way drivers in as many days but the second incident ended tragically.

William Melton, 33, of Thomaston, succumbed to injuries sustained during a collision that ended the incident.

Sunday night, around 7:58 p.m., Troup County 911 alerted law enforcement officers about reports of a reckless vehicle traveling south on I-85.

Troup County sheriff’s deputies were able to locate and intercept the reckless vehicle and attempted to conduct a traffic stop on a gray Honda Accord. According to GSP, the driver of the Honda refused to stop and continued fleeing south on I-85.

While the vehicle was traveling south, a LaGrange Police Officer took over the primary pursuit and attempted to conduct a Precision Immobilization Technique (PIT) to end the pursuit.  The PIT maneuver was successful, but the reckless driver, Melton, was able to regain control of the vehicle.

Melton then turned around and began traveling north in the southbound lane of I-85.  A Troup County deputy attempted to block Melton from going the wrong way up the interstate but was struck by the fleeing Honda.

The driver of the Honda then turned around again and began traveling back south on I-85.

GSP Troopers were able to intercept the pursuit and attempted another PIT maneuver to end the reckless pursuit which successfully stopped the reckless vehicle.

The Honda traveled off I-85 rotating clockwise onto the west shoulder, where it struck a parked log trailer that was empty with the rear of the Honda Accord.

Troup County Fire and EMS were notified and were able to extract the driver from the vehicle.

The driver was taken to Wellstar West Georgia Medical Center and later airlifted to Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta via AirEvac.

Troup County Coroner Erin Hackley confirmed that Melton passed away Monday morning.

This incident is still under investigation.