A crash Wednesday night in Midway killed one Liberty County resident and sent another to the hospital.
According to Georgia State Patrol Trooper Sgt. 1st Class Thornell King, Willie Houston, 54, of Midway, was driving his 1993 Chevy pickup west on U.S. 84/38 Clancey Lane at about 9:30 p.m. when his vehicle slammed into a tractor trailer. GSP Trooper Quincy Melvin said the driver of the semi, David Hines, 39, also of Midway, had been backing the vehicle up to park it for the night and was blocking the eastbound and westbound lanes at the time of the accident.
The cab of Houston' truck wedged beneath the rig, and the victim was pronounced dead at the scene, King said. Hines, who works for Time Dispatch Services, Inc. in Jacksonville, Fla., was taken to St. Joseph’s Candler Hospital in Savannah and released, King said.
The accident closed Highway 84 for a mile in each direction while officials investigated and cleared the scene.
Houston had been an employee at the city of Richmond Hill Parks and Recreation Department, but had been on disability leave for more than a year, according to Richmond Hill City Manager Mike Melton. The city manager could not relay the reason for Houston’s departure from the department as employee health and human resources records are confidential.
“We’re very saddened by the news and our prayers are with his family,” Melton said. “We stand by ready to help them any way we can.”
Houston’s former supervisor, Parks and Recreation Department director Harvey Lashley praised Houston for his work ethic and dependability, even as the former city worker’s health failed.
“He was a real hard working guy who was just dealt a real bad hand with his health. He worked hard until the day he was killed. He was a good friend and a good employee,” Lashley said.
Great Ogeechee Seafood Festival committee member and Richmond Hill-Bryan County Chamber of Commerce Director Kittie Franklin said Houston also had been involved in planning and assisting with the annual event.
Lori Wynn and Lewis Levine contributed to this report.