angie.thompson@gaflnews.com



ASHBURN -- A 16-year-old Ashburn girl severely injured in an automobile accident Friday died of her injuries Saturday at Phoebe Putney Hospital in Albany.

Sandra Elizabeth Ward, 16, 206 S. Gordon St., was a sophomore at Turner County High School and a member of Rocky Mount Baptist Church.

Officers with the Ashburn Police Department investigated the accident that occured within the city limits at the intersection of Georgia Highway 112 and Interstate 75.

Chief Ben Sumner said the accident occured at 3:40 p.m. Friday. Sumner said the accident report states that Ward failed to yield the right-of-way at a stop sign at the bottom of the exit ramp. Her Buick Century then collided with a Chevy Silverado driven by William Whiddon, 16, also of Ashburn.

Whiddon was transported to Tift Regional Medical Center in Tifton. He was treated for minor injuries and released. Tina NeSmith, 16, also of Ashburn, was a passenger in Ward's vehicle. She was not injured in the accident. Whiddon had no passengers at the time of the accident.

Sumner said the accident occured within the city limits and did not occur on the interstate, so his department, rather than the Georgia State Patrol, investigated the accident.

Chris Ward of Ashburn, Ward's father, is a volunteer fireman for the City of Ashburn.

"This has really shaken our community," said Sumner.

Ward's funeral will be held today at 2 p.m. at the Ashburn First Baptist Church with burial to follow in the Rose Hill Cemetery in Ashburn.

Ward's death marks the fourth death in motor vehicle accident in Turner County in a two-week period. Three people died of injuries resulting from a three-vehicle accident that occured Sept. 29 on I-75 near Exit 82 in Turner County.



To contact reporter Angie Thompson, call 382-4321, ext. 208.



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