1 killed, 1 critical after Smokey Road wreck

by Sarah Fay Campbell

A Heard County teen was killed and three Coweta teens injured in a single-vehicle crash on Smokey Road around 3 a.m. Saturday.

A 1998 Toyota 4-Runner driven by 17-year-old Joseph Brian Shelnutt traveled off and back onto the roadway several times before overturning, according to the GSP. Shelnutt and his front passenger, 16-year-old Austin Walker Pope of Franklin, were ejected from the vehicle and Pope was killed.

GSP Trooper Ross Buchan said alcohol is believed to have been a factor in the crash, and toxicology reports are pending. Neither teen was wearing a seatbelt.

According to Deputy Fire Chief Todd Moore of the Coweta County Fire Department, Shelnutt was airlifted to Atlanta Medical Center in critical condition with “multi-system trauma.”

A spokesperson for Atlanta Medical Center said Saturday afternoon that she could not release information on Shelnutt’s condition because he is a minor. However, the Heard Citizen reported Saturday afternoon that Shelnutt was in serious condition. Friends and family were posting on Twitter Saturday afternoon with the hashtag #prayforjoey .

Two 17-year-olds in the back of the vehicle, Braxton Kexavier Tucker of Grantville and Andrew Daryl Mask of Newnan, were also transported to AMC, and both were discharged from the hospital Saturday afternoon.

Pope was a junior at Heard County High School, according to the Heard Citizen. A candlelight vigil at Prospect Church was planned by Pope's classmates for Saturday evening.

The accident occurred on Smokey Road near Country Lane.



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