Cordele Dispatch, Cordele, GA

Local news

November 28, 2012

Two die in separate accidents

Cordele — A 16 year old Crisp County High School student and a 24 year old cotton gin employee were killed in separate accidents during the past few days.

Georgia State Patrol Post 30 Commander, Sgt. Garrett Fiveash identified the dead teen as Precious Briana Burns who lived at 2112 Hwy. 41 N. of Cordele. She lost her life as she attempted to cross Hwy. 41 to get to a bus stop about 6:30 a.m. Tuesday. Fiveash said she stepped in front of a northbound vehicle traveling about 55 mph.

"She was wearing a black jacket and jeans, and the driver of the vehicle said he did not see her," Fiveash said. A younger brother had crossed the road ahead of her, he added.

At this time, no charges are anticipated, Fiveash said. "It seems to have been a tragic accident."

Crisp County School Superintendent Jay Brinson issued a statement following the accident, “I am shocked and saddened by this awful tragedy. This young lady was a light in her family’s life. My heart goes out to the parents in their time of pain and sorrow.

“Words cannot express my desire to comfort the parents. However, words cannot comfort a parent whose heart is broken. Maybe, in time, we will understand God’s plan. For now, all we can  do is grieve with the family.”

The superintendent said Crisp County High School’s crisis intervention plan was activated Tuesday, and counselors are available to talk to any student who needs to talk about the situation.

Brinson further explained that the Burns family had just moved to the Hwy. 41 N. site during the Thanksgiving holidays. On Monday, he said he understands that the children missed the bus, and their mother took them to school, so Tuesday would have been Precious’ first day to ride the bus since the move.

Making the situation even more tragic, Brinson said a bus would have picked up the Burns children on the same side of the road as their home. It was not even necessary for them to cross the highway, he said.

“Please pray for this family and for the driver of the car,” Brinson added. “They need to feel God’s comfort now, as they go through this unimaginable valley.”

Dooly County Sheriff's Investigator Randy Lamberth said Jose Luis Vazquez-Aparicio perished after he crawled into a cotton module shredder at Findlay Gin near Pinehurst early last Friday morning.

His co-workers told law enforcement officials they did not understand why the victim entered the shredder as he did. "There was no reason to go into the shredder," they said. Furthermore, no one knew he was in there until the machinery started running again.

"As soon as his co-workers realized what had happened, they shut down everything, but it was too late," Lamberth said.

Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) officials were on the scene Friday and Lamberth said he expects them to return. So far, he added, no problems have been found with the machinery or the safety switches. It just seems to have been a serious error in the victim's judgment that caused the tragic accident, according to Lamberth.

Lamberth also reported that a 12 year old youth who lived in the Drayton area and was accidentally shot as he and another youth played with a gun several days earlier has been released from the hospital.

The bullet struck the boy in the right rib area, and he was treated at Crisp Regional Hospital. "He's a lucky young man," the investigator said.

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