Three Randolph County residents were severely injured in a two-vehicle accident on Saturday night in Roanoke. All three were taken by helicopter to Columbus Medical Center, where they remain at press time.
According to the report from Roanoke Police Department, the accident happened on U.S. 431 North near the intersection with County Road 26, just north of Chris' Auto Sales.
The first driver, Jose Mata Pedraza, 41, of 9648 Old Hwy. 431, Wedowee, was southbound in a 1999 Ford Explorer.
A witness told police officers that Mata was headed south with no headlights at an above normal rate of speed when he suddenly veered to his left so quickly that the driver of a northbound 2002 Mercury Marquis had no time to react. The vehicles struck head-on in the northbound lane and did not move from the point of impact. There were no signs of skid marks or evasive action from either vehicle.
Injured in the Mercury were the driver, Quinton Lanard Heard, 26, of 1089 Cooledge St., Wadley, and his passenger, Mary Louise Treadwell of 33129 Hwy. 431, Roanoke.
Following the accident, a Breathalyzer test showed Mata to have a blood-alcohol level of 0.96. He is charged with DUI, no driver's license, no proof of insurance and driving on the wrong side of the road. In addition, warrants have been signed and sent to Columbus for charges of second-degree assault and recklessly causing serious physical injury to another person by means of a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument (vehicle).
Mata is also a suspect in a hit-and-run accident in Wedowee a few minutes earlier in which a 2002 Nissan Sentra belonging to Williams Drake was struck while parked downtown near the intersection of First Avenue Northwest. Several witnesses reported seeing the car get hit.
None of those involved were wearing a seatbelt, but all airbags did deploy.
According to Randolph County E-911, the accident was reported at 7:46 p.m. Responding were Roanoke Police Department, Emergency Medical Transport, Wedowee Police Department, Wedowee and Roanoke volunteer fire departments and Lifesaver and Air Evac helicopters.
(For more vehicle accidents over the past week, see the April 27 issue of The Randolph Leader.)