Authorities say that two motorists were killed early on Friday, Nov. 22, after being struck by a vehicle on Ga. 400 as they attempted to retrieve an item that had fallen on the highway.
At about 2 a.m. on Friday, Michael Sweat, 44, of Dawson County, and Kayla Howard, 25, of Dahlonega stopped their vehicles in the northbound emergency lane of Ga. 400 near Settingdown Road, attempting to look for a lost item on or near the roadway, according to a release from the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office.
The two victims, who were wearing dark or black clothing, were struck by a 2001 GMC Sonoma traveling north on Ga. 400, operated by a 52-year-old White County man, who reportedly could not see the victims until it was too late.
According to the release, at the time of the wreck one victim was standing in the roadway near the center line and the other was standing near the edge of the road. As the driver of the GMC swerved left to avoid the victim in the roadway, both victims were struck and killed.
On Friday morning, sheriff’s office spokesman Cpl. Doug Rainwater said that the driver of the GMC had no time to react and attempted to avoid the wreck.
“He did everything he could to avoid hitting them,” Rainwater said. “But when you have an obstruction on a roadway with dark conditions, that’s hard.”
Rainwater said that impairment, distraction and speed are not considered factors in the wreck, and there no charges pending against the driver of the GMC.
This wreck will be investigated by the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office Traffic Specialist Unit.