State Patrol: 5 killed in head-on crash west of Savannah

Image 1 of 2

SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — Five people died early Wednesday in a head-on crash between two cars on Interstate 16 west of Savannah.

Investigators were trying to determine what caused a Ford Mustang traveling west to cross the median and smash into an oncoming Kia Soul in the eastbound lanes shortly before 6 a.m., just ahead of the morning rush of commuters heading to work in Savannah.

"We've still got a bunch of unanswered questions," said Sgt. 1st Class Chris Nease of the Georgia State Patrol. "We don't have anything standing out to us saying hey, this is why this happened."

Three of those killed were in the Mustang and two were in t he Kia. The State Patrol said there were no survivors in either vehicle.

The cars collided head-on near the city of Pooler along a stretch of highway where the posted speed limit is 70 mph. Impact mangled both vehicles to the point where emergency responders had to use cutting tools to remove most of the bodies, said Chief Wade Simmons of the Pooler Fire Department.

"All five were killed basically instantly," Simmons said. "There were no viable patients at the scene when we arrived."

The State Patrol did not immediately release the names of those killed as troopers worked to notify their families.

Nease said investigators hoped to speak with other motorists who witnessed the crash. He said he was unaware of any witnesses who had come forward Wednesday morning.

"There's a chance that nobody did see it," Nease said.

The deadly crash shut down all eastbound lanes of I-16 for several hours Wednesday before reopening after the morning rush at about 9:40 a.m.

Two wrecks last year also killed five people apiece on I-16, an east-west route that connects Savannah and Macon across roughly 170 miles.

Five nursing students from Georgia Southern University in Statesboro died on April 22, 2015, as they headed to work at a Savannah hospital when a tractor-trailer slammed into stop-and-go traffic backed up by an unrelated wreck. Less than a month later, another tractor-trailer smashed into two cars near the busy interchange where I-16 meets Interstate 95. Five people perished in that wreck as well.