SANDY SPRINGS, Ga. — Friends and family are identifying one of the victims of a fiery crash and subsequent hit-and-run on I-285 Wednesday morning that left traffic snarled for hours.
Bill Brown, owner of There, a bar & eatery, said Jeannie Smithwick works at the Brookhaven restaurant and confirmed she underwent surgery at Grady Hospital after the accident.
"Prayers for Jeannie, please," the restaurant posted. "Jeannie, a big part of our small family at There, was one of the victims of the horrific hit & run this morning on 285."
Police said it was around 2 a.m. when two cars crashed on I-285 eastbound near Northside Drive in Sandy Springs. It caused the car that was hit from behind to burst into flames. Police said a third vehicle that was passing by stopped and got a fire extinguisher out. But while trying to control the fire, police said all three stopped cars were hit by a blue Ford Mustang that kept going after crashing into the scene. Police are now looking for that Mustang that they said would have extensive front-end damage.
First responders took all three victims - including Smithwick - to the hospital for treatment. Police have not yet identified the other two people hurt, nor have they indicated the extent of their injuries.
In a statement, Brown said Smithwick is "loved and adored by all of our customers. She is a beautiful kind person that always has care and concern for others. Our restaurant is a small place with a very small staff and we are all family here. It was very surreal at lunch, as many regulars dropped by to offer love and prayers for her."
Meanwhile, police are still searching for that Mustang that left the crash scene. Anyone who has information on the driver is asked to call the Sandy Springs Police Department at 770-551-6900.
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