SANDY SPRINGS, Ga. -- A popularAtlanta radio host was injured anda young womankilled in a wreck that virtually shut downsouthboundGA 400 Friday morning.
According to Kelly Stevens co-host, Vikki Locke,he remembers the headlights, the impact, and his car rolling several times on it's roof.
"He knows the sounds. He said he could hear the crunch of the steel. He could hear the glass breaking," said Locke.
Sandy Springs police say 22-year old Carlyn Royball of Alpharetta was driving the wrong way on Georgia 400 around 3:30 a.m., and hit Stevens shortly after he got on the freeway near Roberts Drive. Royball died at the scene.
Stevens was taken to Grady Memorial Hospital, where he is recovering from a broken arm and leg. Doctors put a plate in his knee. Locke says Stevens' girlfriend spent the day by his side.
"She can't believe all the little chards of glass that she's been removing from his face and his head, his arms and his legs," said Locke after visiting the two at the hospital.
The direct impact and high rate of speed increase the odds of someone dying or being seriously impaired in a wrong way crash. Stevens admits he wasn't wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash, so the force of the impact was even more apparent.
"They found him in the backseat of his SUV. Can you believe? The backseat," said Locke.
A DOT spokesman says in the past decade, at least 26 people have died in metro Atlanta in wrong way crashes. Almost all of the accidents involved alcohol, drugs orprescription medication. That includes drivers who should have taken medication, but didn't. Very few, DOT says, involve drivers confused by signage.
Still, DOT says it goes out after every crash to check the signs and markings in the area. They've considered installing strips to flatten car tires that enter the freeway heading the wrong way. But say it would cost too much to install and maintain them, plus the strips are not designed for high speeds or heavy trucks.
Police won't know for weeks, until toxicology reports come back whether Royball had anything in her system that might have caused her confusion. Officers are still trying to determine where she was before the accident.
One piece of advice from the DOT: Wrong way drivers tend totravel in what to them isthe right side of the road, basically the lane near the median. So if you're driving overnight and don't need to be in the left lane, avoid it. And if you do see a wrong way driver, your best bet is to head right and stop until they pass. Then call 911.