Authorities are investigating an accident Tuesday night that claimed the life of one motorist and led to three cars catching on fire.
According to initial reports, motorists informed Effingham 911 dispatchers that a car was driving the wrong way in the Interstate 16 eastbound lane.
“Two minutes later, we got a call there was a wreck on I-16,” said Effingham Sheriff Jimmy McDuffie.
The driver was identified as Tracie Alyn Witkop of Pooler. Witkop, driving a 2015 Kia Optima, sideswiped one vehicle, sending it off the road.
“She and the other car almost hit head-on but they both swerved to their right,” said Georgia State Patrol Trooper J.R. Mock. “They caught enough of each other to rip the front left wheel and suspension off the vehicle.”
The collision sent Witkop’s car into a counterclockwise spin and into the other lane, where her car was hit by another vehicle. Witkop’s car then spun clockwise and burst into flames, Mock said. Both of the vehicles in the second collision were caught in the fire, and a third vehicle also was involved in the second crash and fire.
“It burned three cars,” Mock said.
Witkop was the only occupant in her vehicle and the other motorists were taken to local hospitals with non-life-threatening injuries. Alcohol may be a factor in the incident, but the GSP is waiting on toxicology results to determine if it was.