NWGA Scanner | March 30th, 2021
According to Georgia State Patrol, four people were killed in a wreck on I-75 near Valdosta in Lowndes County, Georgia, on Thursday. Among those Killed were a young Rossville couple and their unborn daughter. Austin James Smith, 24; Kelsey Layne Ownby Smith, 21, and Aurora Gracelynn Smith of Rossville were killed in the fiery crash. Also killed in the crash was Jonathon Ricketts, 67, of Hilliard, Ohio. Ricketts was engaged to Austin’s mother. The Georgia State Patrol said the crash happened when an unidentified vehicle was going south in the center lane abruptly hit the brakes. There were two tractor-trailers behind the car that braked. The first one hit its brakes. The second tractor-trailer tried to swerve to avoid the other two vehicles but struck the first truck. That caused it to jackknife and burst into flames. GSP is looking for the driver responsible for the crash, who they say was hit but fled the crash scene. According to his family, Austin Smith was currently pursuing a career in truck driving and was studying for his CDL license. The Smiths had been planning to meet up with family after dropping off a load. The Patrol’s Specialized Collision Reconstruction Team (SCRT) is investigating the crash. Austin Smith was born in Syracuse, New York, but had lived most of his life in the North Georgia area. He was employed with Brian Wallin Construction for several years as a carpenter. Austin was described as a devoted father whose main priority in life was providing for his family. The couple leaves behind a daughter and son. Kelsey Smith was a lifelong resident of the North Georgia area. According to an obituary, Funeral services will be held at 1 p.m. on Wednesday in the Fort Oglethorpe Chapel of W.L. Wilson & Sons Funeral Home with Bro. Chris Spears and Bro. Jeremy Hanrahan is officiating. Burial will follow in the Tennessee-Georgia Memorial Park. The family will receive friends from 3-8 p.m. on Tuesday and prior to the service on Wednesday at the funeral home. A GoFundMe account has been started to help the families.