Local News

Erwin Community Mourns Loss Of Family Killed In South Georgia Wreck

Posted January 5, 2004 4:57 a.m. EST

— The ride home from a holiday vacation turned tragic for a North Carolina family. Six people died in a head-on collision, of whom four were related.

The Georgia State Patrol said the driver of the Pontiac Firebird lost control after passing another car and swerving over the center line, then slammed into a Dodge Caravan carrying seven family members from Erwin, N.C.

The family, which was returning from a Florida vacation, was identified as 6-year-old Delia Perez; 3-month-old Elizabeth Perez; 52-year-old Sarafina Meza Almanza; and 29-year-old Jose DeJesus Perez Saldana.

Darlene Tripp, Delia's teacher, expected to see her back at her desk this week.

"She was wonderful. She was one of those that was very quiet," she said. She would be lost in a crowd, but at the same time, she would stand out."

Three other family members in the minivan were seriously injured, including a 10-year-old who was flown by helicopter to a Savannah hospital.

The two people in the Pontiac Firebird died at the scene. The Georgia State Patrol is checking the blood of the Pontiac Firebird driver for alcohol.