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GBI identifies dead motorist

A fiery crash on on I-75 in Monroe County Sunday night left one driver dead and the GBI has identified the victim. UPDATE: The body of an unidentified woman killed in a multi-vehicle accident on I-75 southbound on Sunday, August 14, 2011 has been identified as Ebony Underwood, 23, of Dublin. Monroe County Sheriff’s Office deputies are continuing an investigation into the case but said that it appears that only three vehicles were involved in the crash. Around 9:46 Sunday night, a Dodge Dakota, driven by Craig Joseph Podell, 34, of Ames, Iowa, made an illegal lane change causing the Dodge truck to rear-end a roll-back wrecker driven by Chastity Hopper, 20, of Forsyth. The wrecker then hit the Buick Regal driven by Ms. Underwood. The wrecker and the Regal flipped over the guardrail and caught fire. Hopper and her passenger, Christopher Baxter, 27, were transported to the Medical Center of Central Georgia. Ms. Underwood’s body was taken to the GBI Crime Lab in Atlanta. Mr. Podell refused medical treatment. It is unknown whether seatbelts were in use at the time of the accident. Mr. Podell is being charged with failure to maintain lane and following too closely. The full release from Allison Selman-Willis of the Monroe County sheriff’s office follows: An unidentified person was killed in a three car accident on I-75 last night, August 14, 2011. Around 9:46 p.m. a Dodge Dakota, traveling southbound near Pearidge Road, was struck by an unidentified vehicle. The Dakota then struck a rollback wrecker which then struck a Buick Regal, causing the vehicles to go over the guardrail into the median. The wrecker and the Buick Regal overturned and caught fire. The driver of the Buick Regal was pronounced dead at the scene and the body was taken to the GBI Crime Lab in Atlanta for positive identification. The drivers of the other vehicles sustained non-life threatening injuries and were transported by ambulance to the Medical Center of Central Georgia for treatment. The driver of the Dodge Dakota stated that the vehicle that struck him did not stop. Names of the people involved in this accident are currently unavailable. When such information is made available or when the Crime Lab identifies the deceased victim an updated press release will be given to the media.

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