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Two teens die in Hampton wreck

By Jason A. Smith

jsmith@henryherald.com

Henry County Police are investigating a weekend wreck in which left two stepbrothers dead.

The victims were identified as 16-year-old Jacob Simmons of Hampton, and 14-year-old Tristan Keown of Cleveland, Ga.

The crash occurred on Floyd Road near East King Road, in Hampton, at approximately 7 p.m., Friday, according to Henry Police Capt. Jason Bolton. He said Simmons was driving a pickup truck, accompanied by his stepbrother, and another passenger, when the vehicle left the roadway.

"The driver overcorrected, lost control, left the road again and the vehicle overturned," said Bolton.

"Simmons ... was killed, along with the center passenger, ... Tristan Keown."

The remaining passenger, Keown's 15-year-old cousin, also from Cleveland, survived the wreck with "complaints of injury," the captain continued. The cousin was not transported to a hospital for treatment.

Tim Baxter of Hampton lives on Floyd Road, across the street from where the wreck took place, and heard what he called a "racket" near his home when Simmons' truck overturned.

He said a passenger in the truck came to his door, and told him there had been an accident.

"I went across the street, called 911, and saw two boys in the truck," said Baxter, 55. "The truck was upside-down. The passenger door was open, and you could tell the top was crushed down some in the front. One of [the victims] was moving, but very little."

Baxter, who has lived at his home for 22 years, added that a lot of cars have run off the road on his street, particularly on a curve near his house. He said gravel on the sides of the road often causes drivers to lose control in the area.

One possible solution to the problem, according to Baxter, is a greater police presence on Floyd Road.

"We're in a rural area, but especially in the afternoons, there's a lot of excessive speed on this road, for the amount of traffic that's out here," he continued. "I hope this is a wake-up call for everybody that drives on this road. It's a shame that it had to happen this way."

Don McDaniel, 39, has lived near the wreck site for 25 years. He said although he did not see the wreckage, young drivers regularly drive too fast in the area, despite a low posted speed limit.

"It's mainly up to the driver to pay attention," McDaniel said.

Capt. Bolton said police have not determined what caused the wreck.

"No evidence of alcohol, or drugs, has been discovered in the investigation, nor does speed appear to have been a factor," he said. "The investigation is ongoing."