The Labor Day holiday weekend was a deadly one on Effingham County roads, as two women died from injuries in separate single-car crashes.
Nija Jones, 19, of Rincon was pronounced dead at the scene after her car hit a guardrail and overturned on Highway 21 around 4:30 a.m. Sunday, according to the Effingham County Sheriff’s Office.
Evelyn Tebeau, 96, of Springfield was injured in a wreck on Old Tusculum Road at approximately 4:30 p.m. Sunday. She was taken to Memorial Health University Medical Center, where she died.
“Neither one of these were alcohol-related or even speed-related,” said ECSO spokesman Detective David Ehsanipoor. “For whatever reason, we saw an increase in fatal crashes. I don’t know why.”
Jones was working an overnight shift at Walmart and was on her way back to the store after taking a break, according to Ehsanipoor. She was driving northbound and lost control of her Hyundai sedan in the 5600 block of Highway 21, in front of Kroger in Rincon.
After hitting a guardrail and flipping several times, the car landed on its roof in a ditch that had standing water in it, Ehsanipoor said.
Jones was a Rincon native born on Nov. 28, 1994, according to her Facebook page. She studied nursing at Savannah Tech.
The last comment she posted on Facebook, dated Aug. 26, was, “Working, working, working, that’s all I do.”
Tebeau’s car ran into a ditch and hit a power pole on Old Tusculum Road at Highway 21 near Springfield, according to the ECSO. Tebeau was not wearing a seat belt and suffered internal injuries, Ehsanipoor said.
No other vehicles were involved in either crash, and neither driver had any passengers.
Eight traffic deaths have been reported across the state over the holiday weekend.