A Hinesville man was killed Tuesday night when the 1986 Toyota pickup he was riding in collided with another vehicle at the intersection of West Oglethorpe Highway and Maple Drive shortly before 10 p.m.
Hinesville Traffic Investigator Lt. Max McLendon said Walter Kelly, 30, of Hinesville, had been driving the truck west on Oglethorpe Highway when he entered the center lane to make a left turn onto Maple Drive. He tried to turn in front of a 2002 Chevy Silverado driven by Deborah Boatright, 44, who had been heading east on Oglethorpe Highway. The vehicles collided head-on, sending the Toyota back 55 feet from the impact site. Brian Schramm, 37, a passenger in the Toyota, was taken by emergency medical personnel to Liberty Regional Medical Center in Hinesville where he later was pronounced dead.
No cause of death has been released, but an autopsy is scheduled. Kelly and Boatright were treated for minor injuries at LRMC and released, McLendon said.
The traffic investigator said Schramm and Kelly were not wearing seat belts. No alcohol was involved, McLendon said. However, Kelly will be charged with failure to yield the right of way and may face additional charges upon completion of the investigation.
While traffic investigators Mike Mooney, Les Patton and Scott Hensler worked the scene of the accident, an officer who was directing traffic narrowly avoided injury when a passing motorist slammed into the passenger side of his patrol cruiser at 10:51 p.m.
McLendon said patrolman Gill Amador was directing traffic around the accident. He had his emergency lights on and other safety equipment in place when Hinesville resident Timako Neely, 35, reportedly plowed into his cruiser. It spun around several times and came within inches of striking Amador. Neely was arrested and charged with driving under the influence.
At 11:11 p.m., Officer Joseph de la Torre, who was stationed at the other end of the accident site, watched as a motorist ran over the safety cones that had been set up. The driver, Michael McNeil, 52, of Allenhurst, was arrested and charged with driving under the influence and failing to obey a traffic officer and traffic-control devices, according to McLendon. de la Torre also had his blue lights on, was wearing an orange safety vest and was holding a flashlight.