WAYNESBORO, Ga. (WJBF) - A sad day in Burke COunty as 48-year-old Franz Schultz of Evans died in a car crash at 3 pm. It happened at the intersection of River Road and Highway 80.
Chief Deputy Lewis Blanchard with the Burke County Sheriff’s Office said River Road is one of the busiest roads in the county, as many Plant Vogtle employees use it to commute.
This year alone, he says his team as responded to at least 13 crashes on that road, 5 resulting in a ride to the hospital.
At the crash scene, you see the remains of a Kia that was travelling north on River Road after a days work at Plant Vogtle. Chief Lewis Blanchard with the Burke County Sheriff’s Office told us that the driver appeared to be speeding while passing a UPS truck on a two lane road, resulting in a head-on collission killing Evan Schultz, who is also a Vogtle employee. The person driving the Kia is at Augusta University with serious injuries.
Mike Ogle was waiting for the road to clear so that he could get home. He lives on River Road and works at the plant as well.
“Living at the camp ground I hear sirens day, night: Probably three times per week,” Ogle explained.
At least 3000 Vogtle workers travel Burke County’s rural roads after each shift, many taking River Road.
“Our Vogtle management is stressing more than I have seen at any sites, and I have worked at a lot of sites that you need to slow down, watch what you are doing and focus,” Ogle said.
Chief Blanchard told us that the Sheriff’s Office has a great relationship with Vogtle. The plant has allowed them to put crashed cars at the entrance for safety reminders. But he explains once workers leave, they have to make the decisions on the road.
“People need to slow down. Life is short enough as it is,” Chief Blanchard explained. “We don’t need to make it any shorter.”
Chief Blanchard said last year, Burke County had 12 fatalities on its roads– a number they want to see lowered in 2018.
“We are very close to getting a grant to get two more officers working traffic out in this area quite often,” the Chief said.
“They have to take it upon themselves to be safer. That’s all there is to it. No one wants to come out here and see a loved one or hear a loved one knock on the door from the sheriff’s department,” Ogle shared.
Chief Blanchard said forget about citations. If you are caught speeding on River or surrounding roads, you will most likely get a ticket in hopes to slow traffic and save lives.
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