One man dies in New Year's Day crash

Thursday, January 2, 2014

BAINBRIDGE -- The new year got off to a tragic start on Putnam County roadways early Wednesday morning with a fatal one-vehicle accident.

Law enforcement officials were dispatched to the scene on U.S. 36 near County Road 300 East at 4:19 a.m.

Officials from the Putnam County Sheriff's Department and Operation Life advised dispatch that upon their arrival the 2001 Dodge Ram was fully engulfed in flames.

"At the time of my arrival upon exiting my vehicle I heard a loud explosion coming from the fully involved vehicle fire," investigating Deputy Josh Boller said. "I then made contact with three individuals, they advised they witnessed this vehicle's driving behavior prior to the accident. "

Two witnesses advised officials that they were both in the same vehicle driving on State Road 75 prior to the incident.

"A big red truck came flying past us on a double yellow on a hill," the female witness said in her written statement. "The truck was swerving all over the road. We were going 60 (miles per hour), he had to have been going way over that amount."

She then advised officials that upon coming into Big Walnut Creek area, the couple saw the truck overturned in a ditch on fire and promptly pulled over to help.

"My boyfriend went down to try and open the door, but it was locked," the female witness said. "The whole front of the truck was on fire. He threw rocks to break the window."

However, the man was unable to extricate the passenger before the interior was engulfed in flames.

A third witness also saw the vehicle prior to the accident as he was on his way home on U.S. 36.

"I was traveling westbound on U.S. 36 when a red Dodge Ram was flying up behind me about a half mile before Groveland," he told officials. "(He) then went around me swerving all over the road with only his parking lights on and his fog lights on."

The third witness also noted that he was able to watch the vehicle swerve all over the road for about a half-mile before arriving at the scene and calling 911.

"We both tried to get the door open and the other person busted the window of his truck," he added.

Officials determined that the vehicle was westbound on U.S. 36 and entered two lanes of westbound travel. The driver continued in the driving lane into a left gradual corner until it lost control and went into a counter-clockwise spin.

According to the accident report, when the vehicle appeared to lose control, there were black yaw marks leaving the driving lane into the westbound passing lane of travel and across the eastbound lane of travel. From the start of the yaw marks to the edge of the roadway the vehicle traveled approximately 125 feet.

"From the edge of the roadway the vehicle rotated back clockwise and down a hill," Boller stated. "At that time the vehicle struck an embankment head on then flipped on its top, landing on a large storm drain."

Boller also noted that the vehicle traveled approximately 225 feet sideways on a sloped uphill road just prior to the head on embankment collision.

The vehicle, which was towed by S & S Towing, had heavy front-end damage and was severely burnt.

Damage was estimated at $10,001-$25,000.

Due to the nature of the accident, the identity of the victim has not yet been released.

Assisting at the scene were Putnam County Sheriff's Department Lt. Dwight Simmons and Deputy Tyler Turner, Bainbridge Volunteer Fire Department and the Putnam County Coroner's Office.

This story will be updated as more information is obtained.

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  • RIP

    -- Posted by BEECEE23 on Thu, Jan 2, 2014, at 10:00 AM
  • Right here on your blog sight it says be respectful and you write tht he was still alive until the flames. Why did that need to be said. He lost his life who cares abut the details. His family already know the details so why put it in ink?

    He was a son, brother,uncle, and loved by all he met. a tragedy happened and many lives will never be the same. Let it be. Just remember when more information comes in to be respectful.

    Honestly, all you need to report now is his name and most already know it. So why not just do a article on how loved and geat this person was.

    Don't kep bringing up that dreadful night.

    -- Posted by harvey on Thu, Jan 2, 2014, at 7:16 PM
  • Reading this has me sick to my stomach. This was my best friend I've ever had and knowing one of his family member might come upon this or my sister who he was like another brother to disgust me. Does no one have a soul anymore not think about how this will effect anyone. What if whoever wrote this this was your son having to deal with him dying then finding out he didn't go the way we was all hoping he went you should be ashamed of yourself I'd love to share some stories I've had with him over the last 20 years we have been friends or show you picture of all the good times we had or let you see his niece he loved with all his heart who's 2nd birthday was today and see if u still write something like this!!! Shame on you

    -- Posted by Jsteph10 on Thu, Jan 2, 2014, at 8:25 PM
  • I would be interested to hear why the couple who witnessed the erratic driving while on St Rd 75 didn't call 911 immediately, thus giving officers a chance to intervene before the tragic conclusion on 36.

    -- Posted by kbmom on Thu, Jan 2, 2014, at 9:30 PM
  • As the mother of a son who knew Jake, and is the same age, I feel heartache for all who knew him. This is a tragedy that will forever change all who are involved. I agree with other posts that some details should not have been printed. Jsteph10, you are a good friend, and I'm proud of you for your post. To all effected by this - I will continue to keep you in my thoughts and prayers.

    -- Posted by Tlbohla on Thu, Jan 2, 2014, at 9:45 PM
  • I grew up with one of the victim's brothers- he himself grew up with one of my siblings, his family (as everyone here clearly knows) is full of incredible, loving, wonderful people. I think that many people here are taking out their anger and grief on what's in front of them (this article). I understand that the descriptions herein may not be ideal and they should certainly not be written for any sort of entertainment, but there is a purpose. The description of the events leading up to the tragedy leave a very obvious conclusion as to the cause of the accident- something that was avoidable, and that's a huge part of people's anger. No matter how delicately this description could have been written- it wouldn't change anything. If only it would, could, but it can't. And honestly, the more factual details that can be reported- the better. In hopes that someone reads this and is shaken to the core (the way that we who have a personal connection to him have been) to the point that they think about it before they get behind the wheel. I've lost 2 dear family members to a tragic accident- avoidable (not even on their part) and as difficult as the description of what happened is for me to read, I remember it. I don't hide it, shy away from it, or tell myself another story- I'd love to plaster it in all public places in hopes that another like it would be prevented.

    I understand everyone is hurting right now. I know from deeply personal experience what you are all going through- but covering the truth, shying away from it, editing it in any way to make it something that it is not or is less than it is - it's not fair. And it won't bring him back. Be angry, be hurt, be sad- grieve, discuss, and remember him in better light but don't take it out on a reporter who is doing their job and whose description (as harsh, graphic, or difficult as you might find it) is truth as it is presented and whose effect might be another life saved.

    -- Posted by Chsgrad04 on Thu, Jan 2, 2014, at 10:25 PM
  • Let the facts fall where they may. Excellent detailed reporting with accounts from both law enforcement authorities and multiple eyewitnesses. Those who would shoot the messenger are way off base. Why not be questioning why the driver was allowed to drive off alone in the state he clearly was in? One good thing is that no one else who happened to be on that highway died because of this man.

    -- Posted by Straight Thinker on Thu, Jan 2, 2014, at 10:26 PM
  • this made me absolutely sick to my stomach this was my brother, my brothers friend and a part of everyones family that knew him!!! you thinking going into that much detail is okay... not just because he was my brother but for ANY family, friend, loved one to read this is ridiculous.. and for people who wanna tell us how he was you should probably stop and think if this was your family, friend or loved one..... how would you feel about this!!!!! I am at lost of words already but to read this is ridiculous..... I truly hope you feel awful for writing in such detail and hope next time you think before you publish something like that again.....

    -- Posted by Bstephenson6 on Thu, Jan 2, 2014, at 10:57 PM
  • Jash 12, ... On the contrary, the "state he was in" was that of a driver attracting attention of other motorists by swerving all over the place, speeding, and (here's the clincher) losing control of his vehicle.

    Impossible to dispute. Do you think his vehicle blew up because he was calmly parked on the side of the road?

    As for WHY he was in the state he was in on this New Year's morning, toxicology tests may well provide insight. You can also be assured investigators will check out where he was and who he was with before embarking on this fatal drive.

    The old days of cover-ups are increasingly difficult to pull off by those who would do so.

    This newspaper has been quite conservative on what it has reported, compared to what it might have revealed.

    Again, we should be thankful no one else lost their life because of this erratic driver.

    -- Posted by Straight Thinker on Thu, Jan 2, 2014, at 11:40 PM
  • I was one of the witnesses. I left my 4yr old in the car and climbed on top of a burning vehicle to try and save someone I didnt even know. I did everything I could think of to help him. If I had stayed even a minute longer, there would have been two casualties. We did not enjoy the experience or try and help for our own personal gain. My girlfriend cant even sleep because of it. To call us self-serving is just as inappropriate as some of the details that were in this article. We gave truthful and accurate reports to the police so that they could make accurate reports. We did not do it for them to be published online for entertainment. It is clear he was drinking, but that doesn't make him a bad person or make him deserve what happened. We all make bad choices in life. Hopefully this story will highlight the dangers of drinking and driving and save others in the future. Should we have called the police on 75? Probably. No one thinks perfectly clear in the middle of a situation. We figured, it being New Years Eve, that he would have been pulled over at the light. The real unanswered question to this story is: Why was the fire department the last to arrive when they are literally seconds away from the site? Condolences for the victim's loved ones who are suffering from this.

    -- Posted by WasThere on Fri, Jan 3, 2014, at 12:25 AM
  • This made me sad when I heard about it around 5 am the people that were trying help put there life on the line did anyone say thank you for trying I had not seen it. Only the driver will know if he was drunk or not.I'm real sorry to the family and loved ones I will pray for this persons family and friends may he rest in peace.god bless everyone

    -- Posted by reader0317 on Fri, Jan 3, 2014, at 7:47 AM
  • Wasthere I'll pray for you and you family to have peace with this

    -- Posted by reader0317 on Fri, Jan 3, 2014, at 7:50 AM
  • How many of those posting on here, who believe the story is acceptable, actually saw the site before the snow fell?

    The truck did not travel "approximately 225 feet sideways on a sloped uphill road just prior to the head on embankment collision." There were no marks on the ground besides the continuing skid mark a few feet off the road until approximately two-hundred feet later; where it impacted the concrete culvert. No ground was tilled; the grass was not even laying over. He obviously went airborne - it was over as soon as it happened.

    I beg all of you to contact the Banner Graphic and demand to have this story removed out of respect for the family. I asked the mother and father not to read it. If it remains posted, I am going to escort them in to the Banner Graphic myself and let the staff writer read it to them personally.

    -- Posted by Bradley Clark on Fri, Jan 3, 2014, at 8:55 AM
  • great point, b

    -- Posted by BEECEE23 on Fri, Jan 3, 2014, at 9:08 AM
  • The Mother is my best friend. I know that some day she will probably read all of this. Staying by her side and witnessing the unbearable pain she is experiencing is unexplainable. NO parent should have to go through this. I believe there were many things that could have been omitted from this article. Bottom line, he is gone, and his family and friends are left to feel the heartache that will go on for years. I shall continue to love and support her and her family, because that is what they need. I cannot, however, say the same for 'those' who cause them more pain. TOTALLY UNACCEPTABLE publishing!!

    -- Posted by Lisa Riggen on Fri, Jan 3, 2014, at 9:52 AM
  • Everyone seems to be upset because they "know him" or "know his family" and yet none of you get upset when they publish other deaths involving stupidity, because you don't know them. To the contrary, most people will comment about "how stupid this person is" for whatever reason. You also want details. Graphic horrible details of how people you don't know, died in a violent manner. This is why a newspaper exists, to relay news, no matter who is involved. I understand being upset, I've lost people too and it was published in the newspaper, but it's not their fault.

    -- Posted by justanothervoice on Fri, Jan 3, 2014, at 2:01 PM
  • News articles NEVER go this far into detail, and just because the worst part was taken out, does NOT make it any better!! God bless the people who risked their own lives to try to help such an amazing person. I wish these people knew him just for a second to know what a great person they were trying to help. There are so many people who are just completely heartbroken from this devistating loss, it was NOT necessary we know every detail! The picture I had in my head was already bad enough and after this I am just completely sick and should not have to picture this play by play. He was truly an amazing guy and loved by so many! I pray that in time everyone who is so greatly hurt, will find comfort in knowing that he is forever with us

    -- Posted by amckinney on Fri, Jan 3, 2014, at 2:47 PM
  • Can we please not forget a very obviously drunk driver could've killed more people than himself? That is the horrid part of this story. NO ONE deserves to burn alive in a vehicle fire, however, if you drive erratically and are so very careless with your own life and the lives around you, this is what happens. Sober guy leaving post NYE shin dig realistically need not worry hes going to suffer a fiery death at his own hands. I guarantee if the witness who commented on this story had been involved in an accident with the other driver, killing the 2 adults and the 4 year old child he spoke of NO ONE would be sickened by this article. I am sorry the parents and friends of this deceased person have to see the details, but that's what they are: details. You will deny how drunk he was until they confirm it in black and white--do whatever you need to do to help you through this shock, but don't be na*ve.

    Bottom line: You make choices, you have consequences. Friends and family of the man should count their blessings they aren't having to deal with this death AND the deaths he caused innocent people. The other drivers were very very lucky--and I guarantee if the tables were turned and this driver had been the one on the roads with someone so callous and thoughtless you wouldn't bat an eye at the details.

    -- Posted by NotABitSick on Fri, Jan 3, 2014, at 3:28 PM
  • I do not think all of these comments on here are fair. News casters have jobs to do also, just like undertakers, ministers, etc. The fact that everyone is bringing out is that this is a wonderful person and they do not want his name scarred by scandel. And that is not what the newspaper is doing. No where in this article has been made mention of any negivity of this person. Only facts have been stated.Which is the news job to do.For all of you who are 'close to' or are 'related' I am sorry. Any loss is a tragic loss no matter what the details.Instead of all your negative nasty comments why don't you take this time to spend with your loved ones family. I am sure you will hear more there than in the newspaper. To the folks and officer who were at the accident scene and tried to help; I know your job must not have been easy nor did you have to do it. But you did it because you cared about the person involved who was unknown to you. They are the ones who really need commended.I also, truly commend the paper on this article - and no I do not like to read things like this either

    -- Posted by Nit on Fri, Jan 3, 2014, at 3:38 PM
  • The actual facts of this report are not what bothers people. The "mis-quoted" and or "mis-representation" of what occurred are. To the individuals that assisted prior to emergency personnel arriving I applaud you. To the first responders I say thank you. To the reporter we added incorrect details to the story I don't know what to say. The one line was omitted from the post because it was not a fact it was added only by the reporter. No corner stated that, no police officer reported that, no where written was that statement made besides here in this article. That's the problem. That's the selfish act one might speak of. If you simply make something up, tweak the story a little to gain the attention and sell your side of the story at the cost of so many other people. You added a line and by doing so you 1. Caused more pain to the family and friends. 2. Caused more pain to the witnesses that attempted to pull him from the vehicle who knew they were to late and that he had already died on impact, will always wonder did they do enough?, should they of done more risk more ?

    That was the only comforting thought to those who knew him, who loved him, and who tried to rescue him and for a reporter to write something that was not confirmed or factual and then removed from the article because it was found to be untrue is what the outrage is over.

    Let, this be a lesson learned to all that a life lost alone no matter the reason is a tragedy all by its self. No one needs to add to it as it can't really be any worse. No one can say the reporter was just reporting the facts because all of the article was not factual. The picture alone show there was absolutely no tact or respect from this reporter.

    -- Posted by Styler1973 on Fri, Jan 3, 2014, at 4:11 PM
  • I didn't know this young man, and the pain of his family must be overwhelming. Another wasted life. Instead of condemning the reporter, the paper, the police, first responders and caring witnesses who tried to prevent an obvious disaster in the making, maybe take a look at this young man's activities that led to this tragedy. Everyone who " knew him, was his best friend, know his mother, etc.", were nowhere around to prevent him from getting behind the wheel of his truck and DRIVING DRUNK. Let's not candy coat it. Why didn't any of these caring people prevent this, take his keys, drive him home, or make him stay where he was!! It's easy to say after the fact, how much he meant, but, someone, somewhere was with him, partied with him, saw his degree of sobriety, or lack thereof, and yet let him go. As much of a tragedy as this is he made the choice to go out New Years Eve, to drink to excess, to get back into his truck and Drive Under the Influence. Thank God he didn't injure or kill an innocent person, someone else's son or daughter, who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time? I know of which I speak. How is it that total strangers risked their own lives to try and save him, when, so many who cared so much about him, didn't. More importantly, he didn't care to save himself. May he rest in peace .

    -- Posted by lindam7766 on Fri, Jan 3, 2014, at 8:19 PM
  • Any life lost to a tragedy is just that. Let us all remember he has a mother and father and possibly grandparents and siblings that are grieving. We can not change what happened, but we can show support to the family that lost him. What he could have done or who he could have hurt does not matter today. Love, Kindness, Support, and Respect is what we should give to his family and friends. I do not know them, but I will be praying for them all and I know I am far from alone. Prayers for God's arms to be wrapped around you in these times and when you feel to weak to carry on that God will carry you.

    -- Posted by onetwomany97 on Fri, Jan 3, 2014, at 8:41 PM
  • Onetwomany97 -- Don't worry, if you were with him shortly before his fatal ride, you can bet investigators will track you down to take your statement. Don't bother threatening those of us who have enough sense to know that.

    -- Posted by Straight Thinker on Fri, Jan 3, 2014, at 10:45 PM
  • Love have people these days can hide behind a computer screen and say such cowardly things whatever makes you feel better about ur pathetic life

    -- Posted by Jsteph10 on Fri, Jan 3, 2014, at 11:10 PM
  • I also went to school with jacob. No one deserves this but hes incredibly selfish. All the people he loved are left here. With only memories. The final of which is this article. Its akin to suicide and if he loved life as much as he seemed to hed still be here.

    -- Posted by NotABitSick on Sat, Jan 4, 2014, at 12:42 AM
  • Apologies to you, onetwomany97.

    My penultimate comment was in response to that posted by Jsteph10, who dishonors the deceased with telling insights on on the calibre of who was hanging out with who. I remain sure investigators will be interested in your comments, however ignorant they may sound.

    -- Posted by Straight Thinker on Sat, Jan 4, 2014, at 1:17 AM
  • Banner Graphic will you stop this thread? THINGS being said are not right. Threats accusations etc.

    Stop this eliminate all threads and delete them.

    A mistake was made but it's only the ones involved business the rest of us should be there for his family sand friends. He paid the worst price for his mistake if indeed drinking was the reason which still hasn't been established.

    -- Posted by harvey on Sat, Jan 4, 2014, at 7:33 AM