The Lincolnton woman who drove into the path of an oncoming pickup truck May 13 on the Thomson Bypass now faces criminal charges.
The accident killed both her passenger and the driver of the pickup. Illiayah Sierra White, of Lincolnton, was arrested Dec. 13 and charged with two counts of homicide by vehicle in 2nd degree - misdemeanor, and one count of failure to stop at stop/yield sign. She was released on a $3,150 bond.
Following the accident, McDuffie County Coroner Paul Johnson pronounced two accident victims dead at the scene at 3:34 p.m. He said the two killed in the accident were Will Smith, 23, of Thomson, and Howard White, 53, of Lincolnton. White was a passenger in a 2018 Kia Forte LE, which was crossing the bypass and was hit by a pickup driven by Smith.
According to the Georgia State Patrol accident report, Illiayah White, 18, of Lincolnton, was driving the Kia on Dallas Drive. She told investigating troopers that she was about to make a right turn onto the bypass when her passenger, Howard White, told her to go to McDonalds. The driver stated she headed straight across the bypass and did not remember anything after that. The report indicates she stated she thought she had driven out in front of a car.
The car was struck by a 1997 Chevrolet GMT-400 pickup being driven by Smith. A passenger in Smith’s truck, Edward Tankersley, of Harlem, told troopers they were traveling south on the bypass when the Kia pulled out in front of them. Following the impact, the Kia came to rest off the road at the intersection with Dallas Drive.
The pickup overturned and came to rest upside down. Illiayah White was listed as suspected to be at fault for the causing the accident, according to the GSP report. The state patrol’s Troop E Specialized Collision Reconstruction Team investigated the fatal accident.
McDuffie County EMS transported Illiayah White and Tankersley both to Doctors Hospital in Augusta following the accident. GSP Cpl. Matthew MacDonald, of the Specialized Collison Reconstruction Team, urges drivers to be cautious.
“I would like to encourage all drivers to remain attentive while driving, slow down and adhere to the traffic control devices governing traffic movements whether it is a stop or yield sign, traffic light or other device. We are rapidly approaching the Christmas and New Year holiday periods and more people will be on the roadways during those times,” said MacDonald.
The May fatality did not involve alcohol, however out of safety MacDonald urges motorists to be wise during the holidays.
“More people will be engaging in the consumption of alcoholic beverages during these holiday periods. Please utilize a designated driver or the ride share options that are available so that we can keep our roadways as safe as possible,” he added.