by JEFF COX
BALDWIN COUNTY, Ga. (WGXA) – A Middle Georgia teacher is dead and a coach is hurt following a single-vehicle rollover crash on Georgia Highway 29 in Baldwin County.
According to the crash report, just after 8:15 p.m. Friday, a vehicle traveling northbound crossed the centerline of Highway 29 while trying to avoid an animal in the roadway. Investigators say the driver, identified as Tinetta Smith of Iwrinton, overcorrected, causing the vehicle to rotate and leave the roadway.
The car slid about 95 feet on the east shoulder before re-entering the highway. When the right front wheel hit the asphalt, the vehicle overturned approximately four times. Both unrestrained occupants were ejected as it rolled.
The vehicle came to rest in the grass median facing westbound. A witness who was driving southbound saw the car flipping and stopped to help. Smith, who was disoriented, told the person helping her that she was trying to avoid a deer.
Smith was transported by ambulance to Navicent Health in Macon. The passenger, later identified as Xavier Whipple of McIntyre, was in and out of consciousness and was airlifted to the same hospital.
Smith was a teacher at Wilkinson County Middle School and served as the Girl's Basketball coach. Whipple is the Boy's Basketball coach for Wilkinson County High School, a job he has held since 2019.
Authorities say the crash investigation determined the cause based on vehicle damage, road evidence, and witness statements.