OAN’s Elizabeth Volberding
1:48 PM – Wednesday, September 6, 2023
On Monday, a pickup truck careened over a ramp wall and flipped over onto a Georgia interstate, killing five teenagers and injuring three other people.
The Labor Day tragedy occurred just before 4 a.m. on the westbound ramp of State Route 316 to southbound Interstate-85 in Gwinnett County, near the Atlanta metropolitan area.
Gwinnett County Police received a 9-1-1 call reporting that a pickup truck had gone “over the wall of the raised ramp” and had fallen onto the major Interstate Highway.
Sergeant Michele Pihera stated that the collision involved the pickup and two other cars near Pleasant Hill Road.
According to the police’s early investigation, two of the involved vehicles crashed, sending one of them flying over the ramp’s wall and into the freeway below, where it was struck by another vehicle.
The tragedy resulted in the shutdown of sections of State Route 316 and I-85 for several hours on Labor Day. The roadway was reopened on Tuesday.
Pihera said that Gwinnett County firefighters announced that five teenagers were killed and that three others were transported to local hospitals for non life-threatening injuries.
Additionally, police stated that the five teens who died were inside the pickup truck that careened over the ramp wall. The victims identified were Katy Gaitan, 17, Ashley Gaitan, 16, Coral Lorenzo, 17, Hung Nguyen ,18, and Abner Santana, 19.
Details regarding the other three injured victims were not immediately provided by police.
Three of those who were killed had attended Lakeside High School in DelKalb County.
Dr. Susan Stoddard, the Principal of Lakeside High School, commented on the deaths of Katy Gaitan, Ashley Gaitan, and Coral Lorenzo, expressing that their teachers and other school staff had been informed of the tragedy.
“With profound sorrow, we inform you of the tragic automobile accident that happened early Monday, resulting in the loss of three of our students,” Dr. Stoddard stated in an announcement shared with USA TODAY. “We hope you will remember Katie, Ashley, and Coral’s families during this difficult time.”
Stoddard requested that people refrain from speculating on the cause of the accident, since doing so might be “inaccurate, deeply hurtful, and unfair.”
Superintendent of the DeKalb County School District Dr. Devon Q. Horton announced that the district will support the Lakeside High School Community and emphasized that during this time, self-care and compassion are essential.
“We understand that grief is a profoundly personal journey, and we are committed to providing the necessary support to help you heal,” Horton said.
Following the accident, police stated that the cause of the crash remains under investigation.
Those who may have information regarding the case have been asked to contact Gwinnett County Police Department at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 678-442-5653.
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