Fatal Accident Under Investigation
It could take months to investigate Wednesday's two-car accident on Ga. 316 near Jimmy Daniel Road that claimed the lives of a Bishop couple.
Bishop couple Denghui Cheng, 58, and his wife, Caixia Geng, 57 both died at the scene, according to Lt. Paul Cosper, public information spokesman for the Georgia State Patrol.
The two had been headed northbound on Jimmy Daniel Road in a Toyota Camry. The other vehicle involved was an Acura MDX traveling east on Ga. 316, he said. Driver Diane Noles Stotler of Florida, 63, was transported to Athens Regional Medical Center, and a 14-year-old boy was taken to Egleston Children's Hospital for treatment of non-life threatening injuries, he said.
To responding deputies, it appeared that the driver of the SUV ran a red light, hitting the passenger car, Chief Deputy Lee Weems of the Oconee County Sheriff's Office said on Wednesday.
Amy Eubanks of the State Patrol's collision reconstruction team said a lot of field work goes into investigations of fatal crashes. Team members must map and photograph the scene and review all of the evidence. In addition, they interview witnesses, inspect vehicles and look at weather reports. The result is very different from a typical four- or five-page accident report, she said.
"The reports are usually a couple of hundred of pages or longer," she said. "They cross every 't' and dot every 'i'."
The purpose is to remain a neutral party while gathering the facts to report accurately, she added.
When an investigation is completed and if there are criminal charges, the reconstruction team meets with the district attorney's office and a decision is made whether to move forward with a case, Eubanks explained.
There are five collision reconstruction teams statewide, and Team 2, which covers Oconee and 25 other counties, is made of up five State Patrol troopers and one member of the Motor Carrier Compliance Division.
"There is little man power," she said.
The investigation into Wednesday's crash could take months to complete, Eubanks said.
"We tell the families involved to prepare for a lengthy investigation," she said.
Correction: Names of the accident victims were misspelled in the original version. They've been corrected.