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5-23-05 Tragedy Befalls Oglethorpe County Family

The (family) picture and story caught my attention as I am sure it did many others.  I left the paper in the lobby for a couple of weeks and then could not recycle it without saving the picture and story.



May 3, 2005


Tragedy Befalls Oglethorpe County Family


By Wendell Dawson, Editor, AVOC, Inc.


Somehow, I missed the story at the time that Steven & Jennifer died in an Easter Sunday auto accident on GA 138.  I heard some discussion when 2 year old Kirsten died on Tuesday.  By Thursday, I had received the Oglethorpe Echo and a family picture was on the front page.  The picture and story caught my attention as I am sure it did many others.  I left the paper in the lobby for a couple of weeks and then could not recycle it without saving the picture and story.


Coincidentally, two folks were in my office that week that knew the family well.  One was a fellow resident of Oglethorpe County who knew the young couple as well as their relatives.  She described them as “good folks” and how an aunt was caring for the five year old girl who survived.


Another person attended church with the young family.   They sat near them at Temple Methodist Church on Easter morning.   A group photo taken of that morning’s service was viewed the next weekend and included this handsome young family.   The visitor said the video was very poignant.   It showed a happy, handsome young family together in church just two hours before their deaths.


More details revealed that the five year old girl who survived walked around the accident scene and saw the horrible picture of damage and death to her parents and young sister.


We hear about this type situation in the news once in a while- in some other part of the country.  Over the years of Will consultations, this type scenario has frequently come up regarding guardians and trustees for minor children surviving “a common disaster”.


This young couple was local.  They had local family and friends.  They attended Temple Methodist Church which is only a stone’s throw from the Oconee County line.   I did not know them but through others, I have learned they were “good people”.  Bad things do happen to good people.  It is a test of one’s faith.  It is also part of life that tragedy comes calling in an unexpected manner.  We never know about tomorrow.


AVOC extends its sympathy to the entire Smith Family and to the five year old survivor.  May God Bless and keep them in this time of deep life-changing time of personal loss.

The Oglethorpe Echo


Thursday March 31, 2005


Family Tragedy


Three members of Crawford family died from accident



What started out as a typical Easter Sunday trip to see parents and grandparents ended in the worst kind of tragedy on Sunday for an Oglethorpe County family.


Steven and Jennifer Smith were killed in a traffic accident as they traveled on Ga. 138 in Walton County as they drove to Conyers to visit her mother.


Their two year old daughter Kirsten, died on Tuesday. Their five year old daughter survived the accident. An account at The Commercial Bank has been set up to collect donations for the child.


Steven Smith, 33, and his wife, 31, died after their 2000 Chevrolet Malibu crossed the center line of Ga. Highway 138 near Pirkle Field Drive just outside Walnut Grove at about 10 a.m. on Sunday. The car struck a 2004 GMC Yukon head-on. The driver of the Yukon, Kristen Bradford, 34, of Covington, was seriously injured and a child in that vehicle was injured also.


Gary and Judy Mathews and his wife were youth directors at Temple Methodist Church when Steven was a toddler.


“We watched him grow from a toddler to a teen to a young man and father,” he said. “It’s been a long relationship.”


Mathews said Smith was about the same age as their daughter so they kind of grew up together. Mathews also coached Smith’s high school track team.


“As far as the coaching situation, as soon as Steven got into high school I knew what kind of an athlete he was,” he said. “He came out for track- as a matter of fact, he still holds one of the school records on the 4 X 4 meter relay.” Smith, Tim Stoudenmire, Clemon Hull, and Jimmy Martin set that record in 1989.


“It’s a sad situation,” he said. “Steven was a very intelligent young man. He was very studious and he was also a tremendous athlete.”


Mathews said he was glad to have had the privilege of coaching Smith and watching him mature as a young man.


“He had an excellent family situation,” he said. “Great parents.”