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Investigation into fatal wreck may take months
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The investigation of a deadly car crash in Effingham County on Sept. 7 might not conclude for several more months, according to the Georgia State Patrol.

The State Patrol post in Rincon has released its initial report on the three-vehicle wreck on Old Augusta Road, but it remains under investigation by the GSP’s Specialized Collision Reconstruction Team.

“If any charges are made, it will not be until after the SCRT investigation is concluded,” said Assistant Post Commander Sgt. Chris Rodewalt. “We will make our charges based on their findings.”

Megan Kessler, 30, of Rincon and her mother Marlys Strempke, 54, of Allenhurst died in the crash. The driver of another vehicle, Karlie Miles, 19, of Springfield, died from her injuries three days later.

Ivey Castaneda, 15, of Rincon, a passenger in Miles’ pickup truck, was seriously injured. A third driver, Rachel Conley, 17, of Rincon was not hurt.

Conley’s Ford Taurus was behind Miles’ Dodge Ram 1500 pickup in the southbound lane of Old Augusta Road, according to the GSP report. Conley moved into the northbound lane to pass Miles.

“Several witnesses stated that (Miles) appeared to have sped up while (Conley) attempted to pass,” the report states.

As a northbound bobtail tractor truck approached, Conley attempted to move back into the southbound lane, according to the GSP. However, her car sideswiped Miles’ pickup.

The truck swerved into the path of Kessler’s Chevrolet Traverse in the northbound lane. Kessler and her mother, the front-seat passenger, died at the scene.

All five people involved in the crash were wearing shoulder and lap seat belts, according to the report. Air bags deployed in Miles’ and Kessler’s vehicles.

Miles and Castaneda both were trapped inside the pickup. Miles was flown by Life Star helicopter to Memorial Health University Medical Center and Castaneda was taken by ambulance.

Investigators do not suspect alcohol or drugs contributed to the crash, the report states.

The SCRT investigation could take up to a year to conclude, Rodewalt said.