Two die in I-65 accident

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 2, 2005

Two teenagers died Wednesday morning following a two-vehicle accident on Interstate 65 just south of Greenville.

According to Alabama State Troopers, the two teens, were identified as Jessica Estelle Johnson, 19, and Stephanie Michelle Johnson, 17, both of Deatsville. They died from injuries sustained in the accident.

The accident occurred just after 11 a.m.

According to a spokesman with troopers in Evergreen, the car collided with an 18-wheeler after it crossed the median.

Both were wearing their safety restraints.

A dog inside the vehicle also died.

Ricky Colburn, 34, of Saraland, who was driving the 18-wheeler, was not hurt.

The accident foreshadowed a planned busy weekend for the state troopers,

who have predicted 16 people will die in accidents during the long holiday weekend.

Statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) rank July 4th as one of the deadliest holidays for traffic-related deaths. Historically, over 600 people are killed each year in automobile accidents on July 4th, half of which are the result of alcohol-related crashes.

According to Clay Ingram, a spokesman for the American Automobile Association, the traffic will not deter motorists.

AAA travel analysts say an estimated 40.3 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more from home this holiday weekend.

On another front, Alabama state troopers predict 16 people will die in wrecks across the state this holiday weekend.

If you are

traveling Alabama's highways during the Fourth of July weekend you will also notice more state troopers than normal. Maj. Patrick Manning, chief of the department's Highway Patrol Division, said no troopers can take vacation during the holiday weekend, and grants are being used to pay troopers to work extra hours. He said 250 to 300 troopers should be on the roads during the holiday weekend.

The Department of Public Safety recorded 10 fatalities on Alabama roads during last year's long Fourth of July weekend. Department officials estimate that 16 people will die during the upcoming holiday weekend.

Here are some simple things you can do to keep from being a statistic:

n. Wear a seat belt.

n Volunteer to be a designated driver.

n Be aware of distractions, including cell phone usage.

n Take a break at the first sign of drowsiness.