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7-23-07 Oconee County’s Snow’s Mill Road- Rocky Branch Rd- GA Hwy 53 area is dangerous

Walton Tribune July 15, 2007: Two teens killed in Oconee Co. wreck. The two boys were driving the SUV on Rocky Branch Road in Oconee County and tried to cross Highway 53 to reach Snows Mill Road.

AVOC

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July 21, 2007

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Oconee County’s Snow’s Mill Road- Rocky Branch Rd- GA Hwy 53 area is dangerous

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By Wendell Dawson, Editor, AVOC, Inc

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The Snow’s Mill Road area has experienced at least three vehicle fatalities- one involving a young man on a motorcycle on April 5 and two teenagers crossing Hwy 53 on July 9.

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On June 4, 2007, I went to the scene of an accident involving relatives at Cole Springs and Snows Mill Road involving three vehicles but no fatalities.   It was at the approximate location of the motorcycle fatality two months earlier.

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Snows Mill Road approaching Cole Springs intersection and GA Hwy 53 approach

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As this area has developed, more and more traffic has come to the area.   It is my understanding that the speed limit is 55 mph in this area of Snow’s Mill Road.   That is too high for the congestion and volume of traffic.

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Transportation officials need to review the speed limits on Rocky Branch, Snow’s Mill, Cole Springs Road and Georgia Highway 53 in this area.   At least the approaches to intersections, especially at GA 53, need to be no more than 35 mph.Warning strips might also help.

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GA Hwy 53 @ Snows Mill and Rocky Branch Roads in Oconee County (2003)

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The County took that approach when GA 316 was being opened.Speed limits were lowered on all county roads on their approaches to GA 316.Warning strips and street lights were also installed.   I believe they helped save some lives and many injuries.

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Oconee has a lot of two-lane “farm to market” roads.However, its growth, population and traffic is more suburban.   Safety can and should be improved in this area.

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Pathfinder was struck by a tractor trailer at the intersection of Highway 53 and Snows Mill Road

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The Walton Tribune

http://www.waltontribune.com/story.lasso?ewcd=58d8df2eba7a3d91

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July 15, 2007

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Two teens killed in Oconee Co. wreck

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By Stephen Milligan

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WALTON COUNTY — The grief is still fresh among the families of two Monroe boys who were killed in a car crash July 9.
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The two, Brian David Larochelle, 16, and his passenger Joshua William Moate, 18, were killed almost instantly after their
Nissan Pathfinder was struck by a tractor trailer at the intersection of Highway 53 and Snows Mill Road..
Larochelle’s sister Sarah said the family was taking the news of Brian’s death very hard.
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“We’re all so devastated,” Sarah Larochelle, 18, of Monroe said. “The doorbell rang and it was the Georgia State Patrol. I answered the door and was the first one to find out.
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“My first reaction was ‘Am I dreaming?’ I was just in shock. It just didn’t feel real.”
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The two boys were driving the SUV on Rocky Branch Road in Oconee County and tried to cross Highway 53 to reach Snows Mill Road.
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According to the Georgia State Patrol, Larochelle either failed to stop at the stop sign or did not look for oncoming traffic before attempting to cross, and was struck by an oncoming tractor trailer.
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The truck slammed into the passenger side of the Pathfinder and forced it off the road into the median, where it rolled upside down and landed partially under the trailer portion of the truck.
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Both Moate and Larochelle died in the crash, but paramedics tended some minor injuries to the truck driver.
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No citations were filed against the driver of the tractor trailer.
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Moate’s girlfriend, Brittany Montville, 17, of Monroe, was also horrified by the news of the accident.
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“I didn’t believe it at first,” Montville said. “Then I went to the site and it was horrible.”
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Montville had been dating Moate for six months since Jan. 4 and often called him “Mater” as a term of endearment. She was the last person to speak to Moate before the accident.
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He called me to say he loved me and he hung up the phone and it happened right when he hung up,” Montville said. “I found out he was unconscious after the hit so he didn’t suffer any, and that helped a little.”
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For all involved, it was a tragic loss that Sarah Larochelle said had left the family in shock and mourning.
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“You just never think that can happen to your family,” Larochelle said. “There’s just a major void. There’s a piece missing.”


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