A single-vehicle wreck in northern White County Thursday afternoon claimed the life of a Clarkesville man.
Just after 1:30 p.m., a 2003 Chevrolet Avalanche driven by Lewis Raia, 82, was traveling east on Ga. 356 when, for unknown reasons, the vehicle traveled off the north shoulder of the roadway, said Sgt. 1st Class Auston Allen of Georgia State Patrol Post 6 in Gainesville.
“Upon exiting the roadway, the vehicle rotated clockwise and struck a large tree with the left side of the vehicle,” Allen said in a statement.
Raia, who was wearing his seatbelt, was pronounced dead at the scene by the White County Coroner’s Office.
Alcohol and drugs are not suspected to play a factor in the wreck, Allen said.
An hour before that, White County 911 received a call for two people who received burn injuries at 481 Running Deer Road.
“One victim, the reporting party, advised an explosion occurred while using an accelerant in a barrel,” said White County Public Safety Director David Murphy. “Both patients received burns on their legs and arms. Due to the nature of the injuries, one patient was flown by air ambulance to Grady Memorial and the other transported by ground ambulance to Grady Memorial Burn Center.”
White County Fire Services, Cleveland Fire Department and White County Emergency Medical Services responded to that incident.
Just after 12:45 p.m., Helen Fire Department, White County Fire Station 7 and White County EMS were dispatched to a woman on the trail experiencing chest pains and difficulty breathing, Murphy said. After being escorted off the trail by medical personnel to a waiting ambulance, the patient declined transport.
Just after 1 p.m., 911 operators received calls reporting a two-vehicle wreck in the area of Asa Dorsey Road and Ga. 254, with one vehicle down an embankment and two people still inside, Murphy said. Two Hall County ambulances and a Hall County fire engine were requested, along with White County Station 4 and Captain 1.
Extrication equipment had to be used to free the victims, both of whom were transported to Northeast Georgia Medical Center with non-life-threatening injuries.
“The occupant of the second vehicle refused treatment and the incident is under investigation by the sheriff’s office,” Murphy said.
Within the same timeframe, multiple medical and law enforcement calls were received.
Mutual aid was received from Hall and Habersham counties, Murphy said.
“All agencies and team members worked well together, and incidents were handled as quickly as possible,” Murphy said. “County stations were alerted for an ‘all call’ for all available personnel in the event calls continued to come in during this ‘rush’ on the system. Our agencies are prepared for days like today by prioritizing calls and using our mutual aid agreements with our regional partners.”