A Bristol teen lost his life and six people were injured in a two-vehicle crash in Calhoun County Sunday afternoon.
John Hilton, 15, was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident. Tony Edwards, 44, and Melinda Colbert, 45, also of Bristol, were airlifted to Tallahassee Memorial Hospital in critical condition. Louie Gainous, 53, Sucia G. Gainous, 53, Olga Woodward, 83, and Aubrey Gainous, 14, all of Cairo, Georgia, sustained minor injuries.
According to the Florida Highway Patrol, Edwards was behind the wheel of a 2002 Mercury Villager headed eastbound on County Road 274 just after 4 p.m., with Colbert and her son, Hilton, passengers in the vehicle. As he approached the intersection of State Road 69, Edwards failed to stop and drove into the path of a 2003 Ford Expedition driven by Louis Gainous who was northbound on SR 69. Gainous' SUV struck the right side of Edwards' vehicle, causing it to rotate onto the north shoulder of CR 286 where it struck a tree. Hilton, who was not wearing a seatbelt, was ejected from Edwards' vehicle upon impact with the tree.
“He was just a nice kid,” says longtime Liberty County High School teacher Sharon Austin. She notes Hilton, who was a sophomore at LCHS, recently joined ROTC and was so proud of his uniform.
The accident is being investigated by Cpl. Raymond Bailey and Cpl. C.D. Chapman of the FHP.