The incident involved a tractor-trailer driven by 37-year-old Solomon Debela, of Tucker, and a Dodge Caravan driven by 38-year-old Cindy Lynn Fain, of Hampton.
“He (Debela) was traveling southbound on North McDonough Road and failed to stop at a stop sign,” said trooper Anthony Webb, of the Georgia State Patrol-Griffin Post. “He was also driving on a road that allowed no through-trucks.”
Webb, who estimated Debela’s speed at “maybe 35 to 40 miles per hour,” said, “He (Debela) didn’t stop — he didn’t even attempt to stop. The other vehicle (Fain’s Caravan) was traveling westbound on High Falls Road. She stopped at the stop sign and proceeded into the intersection. The point of impact was the middle of the intersection.”
One victim was transported by ambulance to Spalding Regional Medical Center while three helicopters — one from Emory Flight, a second from Atlanta Medical Center and the third from Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta — transported the three remaining victims to Atlanta hospitals.
Sheila Knowles, a motorist who arrived at the scene immediately following the collision, described what she saw.
“I got here right after he (Debela) plowed through. When I got here, they (bystanders) had just gotten the kids out. They were trying to get the woman out, but I told them not to move her. Her van wasn’t on fire, so I knew it would be better not to move her because she could have been badly injured,” Knowles said.
She said she and others present did what they could to comfort the victims while awaiting the arrival of first responders.
“I put a blanket around one of the children,” she said. “I told another woman that we needed to do something to help the littlest boy — he had a bad head injury and we needed to stop the bleeding.”
The status of the victims’ injuries was unknown at press time.
Webb said Debela will be charged with failure to stop at a stop sign and failure to obey traffic control.