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Wednesday wreck claims life of longtime community servant
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The Georgia State Patrol’s specialized collision reconstruction team has taken over the investigation of a June 22 crash that killed an Effingham County resident.

Noel Kessler, a Vietnam War veteran and county building inspector, died as a result of the accident on Highway 21 north of Springfield. Kessler also had been a Springfield Fire chief.

At 6:43 p.m., near mile marker 18, a white Ford Crown Victoria driven by James McNeil was headed south on Highway 21. Kessler was traveling north in the left-hand lane in a 2016 Ford Escape, according to Trooper Chris Cuddington.

McNeil’s car crossed the other southbound lane, the median and into Kessler’s vehicle. Investigators don’t know yet why McNeil’s car left the southbound lanes and went across the median.

Kessler was airlifted to Memorial University Health Center. McNeil suffered a compound fracture of one of one his legs.