Weekend wreck kills Oxford man

COVINGTON -- A 20-year-old Oxford man was killed in a traffic crash in Walton County on Sunday morning, according to the Georgia State Patrol.

Christopher Alan Whigham was one of 13 statewide traffic-related deaths reported during the 78-hour Labor Day holiday travel period.

GSP spokesman Gordy Wright said the crash occurred about 4:15 a.m. on Ga. Highway 138, about a half mile north of Forrester Cemetery Road and just outside Walnut Grove.

Whigham was driving a 1995 Saturn SL2, traveling south, when he crossed over the double yellow line into the northbound lane and struck a 2002 GMC Yukon head on.

"The driver and only occupant of the Saturn was not wearing a seatbelt and died instantly," Wright said. "The two female occupants of the Yukon had minor injuries and were wearing their seatbelts."

Wright said speed was a factor in the crash and a preliminary investigation shows that alcohol may have also been

a factor.

Alcohol and/or drugs are suspected factors in at least four of the 13 reported deaths over the weekend.

Sunday's traffic death was the second at the location within the past year. On Dec. 27, a 16-year-old McDonough boy died when the van he was a passenger in was struck by a westbound station wagon when it crossed the center lines and into the eastbound lane.

Labor Day weekend deaths include two people who were killed while riding bicycles, two operating a motorcycle, one passenger on an all-terrain vehicle and one pedestrian.

In addition to the 13 fatalities, there were a total of 360 reported crashes, resulting in 211 injuries.

The holiday period was also an Operation CARE weekend. CARE, or Combined Accident Reduction Effort, is a traffic safety initiative of state highway patrols and state police agencies across the U.S. and Canada. Sponsored by the International Association of Chiefs of Police, Operation CARE unites state law enforcement in a campaign to keep the number of holiday period traffic deaths as low as possible through high visibility enforcement and education.