TIFTON - Two people from Canada and two from Michigan were killed in an 11-car crash Saturday morning in which eight other people were injured.
Thomas F. Higgerty, 42, of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada and Theresa Ann Kelly, also of Ottawa, Ontario, died in a brown Buick Century that Higgerty was driving. Otis Harold Shears Jr., 78, of Comstock Park, Mich. and Joyce Callen of Sparta, Mich. were killed in the white Pontiac Grand Prix driven by Shears.
Although no charges have been filed in the ongoing investigation, officials with the Georgia State Patrol said that the vehicle making initial impact was a 1999 Mack tractor trailer driven by Lewis G. Armentrout, 40, of Valdosta. The vehicle was owned by Onyx Waste Services of Valdosta. The exact cause of the pileup is still unclear.
The wreck occurred Saturday on Interstate 75 some time after 9:30 a.m. with thick fog contributing to the conditions. The wreck happened near mile marker 57 in Tift County, 2.3 miles south of county road 82.
The result of the crash was a total of 11 vehicles being wrecked and some of them left flaming in the middle of the highway. It took law enforcement officers and firefighters several hours to remove the injured, put out the fires and clear the debris. During that time, the busy interstate was shut down, redirecting traffic on one of Georgia's most traveled highways.
The heat from the burning vehicles was so intense that it took hours before the bodies of the dead could be removed from their cars.
The Georgia State Patrol, the GSP's Special Collision Reconstruction Team, the Tifton-Tift County Fire Department, the Georgia Department of Transportation, the Department of Motor Vehicle Safety and the American Red Cross were all part of the clean-up process Saturday.
Salvatore Sancimino Abate, 23, of Palm Coast, Fla. drove a 1999 white Jeep Grand Cherokee that was involved in the wreck. A red Toyota Camry driven by Mary Walsmith Caudill, 77, of Boynton Beach, Fla. was also involved. Caudill had three passengers, Helen Caffo, Frances Patterson, and Theda Rogells, all of Boynton Beach.
A red 1999 Cadillac Seville driven by Gail Schmidt Terbush was also involved. Terbush had one passenger, Helen Squier of Belleair Bluff, Fla. A 1993 Toyota Camry driven by Robert Witt, 59, of Clearwater, Fla. was involved, with one passenger, Naomi Witt, also of Clearwater. A 2000 Cadillac Seville was involved, driven by Daniel J. Guilbault, 64, of Loval, Quebec, Canada. The 2000 Seville had two passengers, Jacques Guilbault and Adele Guilbault, also of Loval, Quebec.
A 1986 Freightliner tractor truck was also involved driven by Gregory Roberts, 37, of Jacksonville, Fla. The truck was owned by Ebenezer Express of Jacksonville. Clifford T. Larsen, 83, of Englewood, Fla., was also involved, driving a white 2004 Cadillac Deville. Larsen had one passenger, Elsie McGorman of Englewood. The final vehicle involved was a silver 2000 Toyota Camry driven by Shirley Marie Giannetto, 71, of Pueblo, Colo. Giannetto had one passenger, Bill Thornton, also of Pueblo.
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REDDING [mdash] Charles Emory Parrish, age 79, passed away peacefully on October 1, 2020 with his daughter by his side. He was born in Florida and grew up in Tifton, Georgia to Lois and Tom Parrish. He joined the Navy in 1964. During his service he earned four medals and was deployed to Viet…