GSP: Two Friday night wrecks, one fatal, caused by alcohol


Officials say two Friday night wrecks – including one that took the life of a Henry County man – were caused by alcohol.

According to Sgt. 1st Class K.J. Searcy, the Georgia State Patrol-Griffin Post commander, both wrecks occurred about an hour apart.

The first was on North Expressway in the vicinity of Minter Road at approximately 5:30 p.m.

“An Acura RSX actually crossed the median, and when it crossed the median, it was struck by a Chevrolet Blazer. When the Blazer struck the Acura, the driver of the Acura was killed. After impact with the Acura, the Chevrolet Blazer was rear-ended by a tractor trailer,” Searcy said.

The driver of the Blazer, Kristen Gentry, of Griffin, sustained minor injuries and was transported by ambulance to Atlanta Medical Center.

Joseph Lavon Degunion, age 52, of Hampton, was pronounced dead at the scene.

The GSP’s Specialized Collision Reconstruction Team also responded to the scene.

“Although the case was non-prosecutable, they did come out to assist,” Searcy said.

Asked if investigators were able to determine what may have caused Degunion to cross the median, Searcy said, “It does show that he was under the influence.”

The second wreck occurred at 6:35 p.m. on Zebulon Road.

“The wreck on Zebulon Road was a non-fatality, but unfortunately, it was a DUI,”Searcy stated. “A Honda Accord was traveling westbound on Zebulon Road near Wesley Ave. and the other two vehicles were traveling eastbound on Zebulon Road. The Honda actually traveled into the eastbound lane and struck the second vehicle (a Ford Ranger driven by Melissa Turner, of Griffin). After it struck the second vehicle, it continued to travel eastbound and struck the third vehicle (a Chevrolet Trailblazer driven by Derrick Smith, of Griffin).”

No one was seriously injured in this wreck, but two vehicles – the Accord and Trailblazer – were towed from the scene.

Willie Hightower, age 38, of Griffin, has been charged with driving under the influence, reckless driving, no headlights, failure to maintain a lane and open container.


  1. And this is what a person with a perfect driving history has to pay five times the normal rate of Auto insurance for? Bull *(^&

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