By Ed Brock
Independence Day 2005 passed with cloudy but calm skies and no major incidents in Clayton County.
Across the state there had been 15 fatal traffic accidents between the start of the weekend and 6:40 p.m. Monday, Georgia State Trooper Larry Schnall said. That was already one death over the 14 predicted to occur over the 78-hour holiday period that began 6 p.m. Friday and ended at midnight Monday.
As many as 2,176 crashes were predicted to occur over the holiday weekend with 963 injuries. By Monday evening there had been 2,245 accidents with 671 injuries.
Last year during a 54-hour holiday weekend, there were 12 persons killed and 538 injured. A total of 1,987 crashes occurred.
State troopers and local police were expected to have heavy patrols on the highways for the whole weekend, but on Monday during the day things were fairly quiet in Clayton County.
"We've only had five or six accidents and only one with injuries," Clayton County Police Maj. Tim Robinson said. "We spent most of the day working traffic."
People around the county spent the day picnicking and, for the first time in Georgia, legally setting off fireworks.
But the Delamar family of Conyers, who had come to The Beach at the Clayton County International Park for a picnic, were letting the professionals handle the pyrotechnics.
"Typically we've been able to find good fireworks," Silvia Delamar said. "We'll probably leave here and go to Forest Park for fireworks."
"But we'll eat good, first," said 10-year-old Jordan Delamar.
Meanwhile, Rich Delamar said he'll be sure to drive carefully with all the police presence on the road.
"They're out there patrolling," Delamar said.
Several hundred people were spending the day picnicking in the park around The Beach or swimming in the water park that lies close to the Henry County line.
"It started out a little slow because of the weather, but the sun broke and we had cars out to the road," said Rick Lane, an administrator at the park.
Despite the crowd there had been little trouble, other than a temporarily lost child.
"We just went through protocols and found him in a few minutes," Lane said.