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Midway man dies Sunday in crash
Victim's pickup struck a tree in Effingham County
Michael Gatch

A Midway man was killed Sunday night when his pickup struck a tree that had fallen across Georgia Highway 17.

Michael Gatch, 48, of Midway died when his 2001 Ford Ranger collided with a tree that had been knocked down as a result of the storms that swept through Effingham County on Sunday evening. The accident occurred around 8:52 p.m. near the intersection of Highway 17 and Blue Jay Road.

“He came upon the stump and struck the tree,” said Georgia State Patrol Cpl. Tommy Barron.

With darkness having fallen and the weather conditions having deteriorated, visibility was very limited, according to Barron.

“He had no time to react,” he said of Gatch.

Another vehicle struck the same tree after Gatch hit it, but that driver was able to slow down in time to lessen the impact, Barron said.

Gatch, a local realtor, was reportedly married on Saturday, June 26, the day before the accident, confirmed David Ehsanipoor, a spokesperson with the Effingham County Sheriff’s Office.

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