I-20 crash near SC-GA border kills 2 Georgia law enforcement officers

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GROVETOWN, Georgia (WRDW / WAGT) – Two police officers died in a wreck west of Augusta on what was already a tragic day for the police when they buried one of their own.

The Columbia County Sheriff’s Office said the officers were from Fulton County.

The agency said the Fulton County’s Dodge Charger office, manned by two MPs, hit the rear of a semi-trailer truck stopped in the left-hand lane heading east on Interstate 20 shortly after 11:10 a.m.

The accident on Lewiston Road closed all lanes of I-20 to the east. Although traffic started moving again at 3:00 p.m., another fatal accident 10 miles west resulted in a diversion at mile marker 175. This accident also occurred on the eastward side of I-20 and affected nine vehicles.

A reconstruction team and vehicle transport compliance officials assisted the investigation.

The names of the officers were not released until the next of kin were notified.

“Please keep the Fulton County Sheriff’s family and family members included in your thoughts and prayers,” the Columbia County Sheriff’s office said in a statement.

The incident occurred on the same day as a memorial service in Augusta for the office of Richmond County Sheriff Sgt. Charles Norton. Norton died of complications from COVID-19 and became the agency’s first coronavirus victim.

The local JD Paugh Foundation said Fulton County officials attended Norton’s CSRA memorial service. The foundation was established in honor of a fallen Richmond County MP.

The Lewiston Road location was the site of a maintenance project scheduled for today, according to the Georgia Department of Transportation. The road works were expected to have little impact and closed the right-hand lane. It was unclear whether the crash was related to the project.

Even before today’s wrecks, the I-20 has been treacherous lately:

  • The accident that killed the officers occurred about 25 kilometers east of where a tow truck driver was killed in a hit-and-run accident less than two weeks ago. On September 17, Jason Willis was struck by a vehicle while loading another vehicle on I-20 on Cobbham Road in McDuffie County. It happened when torrential rain soaked the region.
  • On Monday night, a semi-trailer truck caught fire near the Grovetown exit on Interstate 20 heading west, causing traffic problems.
  • Hours earlier, all eastbound lanes on I-20 in South Carolina, a few miles north of North Augusta, were closed. A truck accident before 6 a.m. on Monday resulted in a lockdown near Bettis Academy Road, and only one lane was free for the rest of the day.

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