2 Cowetans injured in S. Carolina wreck
by Wes Mayer
Bradley Hartsell, a staff writer at The Newnan Times-Herald, and his girlfriend Hannah Latimer, both of Coweta County, were involved in a serious car accident Wednesday evening in South Carolina.
The two were traveling on I-85 in South Carolina to Hartsell's family home in Tennessee for Easter. Around 7:40 p.m., Hartsell, who was driving, ran into the back of a Piercetown Fire Department rescue vehicle stopped on the side of the road. Both Hartsell and Latimer were seriously injured and transported to Greenville Memorial Hospital – Hartsell by helicopter and Latimer by ground ambulance.
Hartsell was entrapped and had to be extricated by emergency personnel. Hartsell suffered from a severely fractured leg, a collapsed lung, bleeding to the brain and other fractured bones, according to Hartsell's aunt and uncle, Cheryl and Darrel Hartsell. Latimer, they said, is on a ventilator to treat a punctured lung, and also suffered from a broken arm and jaw and other facial injuries.
'All of us at the Times-Herald were shocked to learn of this horrible accident,' said Times-Herald General Manager John A. Winters. 'Our prayers go out to Bradley, Hannah and their families.'
Both Hartsell and Latimer have been under sedation. According to Cheryl Hartsell, doctors took Bradley out of sedation at one point Thursday, and he was responsive to verbal commands but in severe pain, so he was put back under.
Around 4 p.m. Thursday, Hartsell was taken into surgery to repair his leg, hand and to check for any internal injuries, Cheryl Hartsell said. The surgery was expected to take three hours.
Before surgery, doctors wanted to perform a CT (computed tomography) scan to make sure it was safe to perform surgery, and to wait until Hartsell's blood pressure stopped fluctuating, Darrel Hartsell said.
The rescue vehicle Hartsell ran into was stopped in the left-hand lane of the highway assisting an accident around mile-marker 29 of I-85 North, according to Independent Mail, the publication in Anderson, S.C., that reported on the accident, and Lance Corporal Tony Keller with the South Carolina Highway Patrol.
The fire department's vehicle, which Keller said was fully lit with emergency lights, was struck in the rear right side, with Hartsell's front driver's side taking the brunt of the impact. Hartsell was driving a sports utility vehicle.
The two other occupants involved in the first accident were also injured due to their crash, and they were transported to AnMed Health Medical Center, according to Independent Mail. The dual accident closed the interstate until 9:35 p.m., according to Keller.
'We are a tight-knit group here, and this has been a tremendous blow,' Winters said. 'But we know Bradley and Hannah are fighters and will pull through.'