AUGUSTA, GA. (WJBF) – Walton Way is one of Augusta’s busiest roads, and Monday morning it became a danger zone when an impaired driver drove the wrong way before crashing into other vehicles.
“This could have been a tragedy,” parent David Dunagan said.
Like many parents, Dunagan’s kids head out the door at 7:50 a.m. for school. The incident reportedly took place between 7:50 and 8 a.m.
“Of all mornings, Monday morning the first day of school. Lots of students walking, riding their bikes, being carpooled to school that starts around the 8 o’clock hour and this happened,” Dunagan said.
Residents say the driver first hit a vehicle on Walton Way at Quail Court while driving into oncoming traffic. The victim drove into the center turn lane trying to avoid the driver, but she was hit.
According to the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office, the driver is Ronald Jefferson. Witnesses say he fled, and shortly thereafter rear ended another parent who had just dropped their child off at school.
“It was just gut wrenching knowing that this could have been so much worse,” Dunagan said. “And we certainly sympathize with the victims. Luckily, they don’t have serious injuries, but they really took the blunt of what could have been a real tragedy.”
The driver didn’t make it much farther on two flat tires. Neighbors say the truck was inoperable and stalled out on Bransford Road.
“We understand when police arrived he was unconscious at the scene and was administered NARCAN to bring him back,” Dunagan said.
Jefferson was wearing an active ankle monitor when he was arrested, according to the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office. He was taken to the hospital and arrested upon release.
The accidents happened before the first bell ring as students walked and rode to school at Langford Middle, Episcopal Day School, and Richmond Academy.
“Most kids are leaving the house at a quarter till. So this happened at the worst time,” Dunagan said,
Jefferson was charged with two counts of DUI, two counts of hit and run, driving on a suspended license, and issued various related traffic citations