Drowsy driving could be a factor in Thursday’s fatal accident on Martha Berry, Deputy Coroner Chris Giles says. Witness reports say the Chevy Cruz driven by Teresa Knowles appeared to switch lanes after which she corrected but then apparently fell asleep, he says. Knowles had just worked a double shift and was headed home, he says. No autopsies are scheduled and both the bodies of Knowles and Matthew W. Sealock have been released to funeral homes, he says.
Sealock worked at Shorter University. Dawn Tolbert, Associate Vice President for University Communications, shared this remembrance:
“Matt Sealock was a valued member of the Shorter University family, and we were saddened to hear the news of his loss. He loved the Lord and served the campus community well. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.”
Thursday’s collision brought to six the number of people killed on Rome roads since the first of the year.
- Jan. 13: The Rome Police Department Selective Enforcement Unit seeks information in reference to a fatal hit-and-run traffic crash that occurred on Jan. 13 on South McLin Street in the early morning.
- Feb. 28: Jose Pompilio Cornejo-Cornejo, 61, and Jose Cornejo-Cornejo, 18, died after police said a speeding motorist slammed into their vehicle. Sameer Fadi Musleh, 20, of Rome has been charged with two counts of homicide by vehicle (first degree) as well as reckless driving, driving too fast for conditions and failure to maintain a lane.
- March 4: Hector Guzman, 37, was killed in the accident on North Avenue after sustaining head and chest wounds.
Rome Police report both drivers in Thursday morning’s head-on collision were killed in the accident. They’re identified as Teresa A. Knowles, 52, and Matthew W. Sealock, 58, both of Rome.
From Rome Police:
On April 22, 2021 at 6:54 a.m., the Rome Police Department Selective Enforcement Unit responded to a two-vehicle accident on Martha Berry Highway north of Ga. 1 Loop. When responding units arrived it was determined the traffic crash was serious in nature. All north and south bound travel was rerouted due to investigation of the crash site.
It was determined that Vehicle #1, a 2013 Chevy Cruz silver in color and driven by Teresa A. Knowles of Rome. age 52, was traveling north on Martha Berry Highway. Vehicle #2, a 2011 Ford Escape gray in color driven by Matthew W. Sealock, 58, of Rome, was traveling south on Martha Berry Highway.
According to witness statements and roadway evidence, the Chevy Cruz crossed the center line into the southbound lane. It struck the Ford Escape head on. After impact, both vehicles came to an uncontrolled rest. Both Knowles and Sealock died as a result of injuries sustained in the crash.
Traffic was reopened for normal travel at 1012 hours
- 10:05 a.m. Rome Police announce U.S. 27 traffic has reopened following the investigation into a Thursday morning accident that killed two people. We’ll have additional updates throughout the day.
- 9:45 a.m. Police were detouring southbound traffic from U.S. 27 to Three Mile Road (near the mall) unless the motorists were Berry employees or students attempting to get to campus.
- 9:20 a.m. Rome Police confirm two people died in the accident. These are the fifth and sixth fatalities on Rome roads so far this year and the second double fatal accident (the first one claimed the lives of a father and son).
- At 9:10 a.m., police are manually directing traffic through the Bypass/Riverside Parkway/Armuchee Connector intersection. The lights have been switched to blinking mode to accommodate what officers are doing. Vehicles remain backed up in all directions.
From Floyd County Police: “We are asking for help in notifying the public of a severe traffic situation in Armuchee. Floyd County PD is assisting with traffic related to a crash detour in Armuchee. Our officers in that area are reporting that the best route is Ga 53 via Ga 140. Armuchee Connector is jammed. We ask motorist to be understanding and patient.”
- At 9 a.m., Martha Berry remains closed. Motorists are still being detoured at the intersection of the Bypass and Martha Berry.
Just in from Rome Police:
“Martha Berry at Berry College is closed due to a fatal traffic accident. Officers are working as much traffic through as they can. Drivers are encouraged to find an alternate route.”
From Floyd County Police:
“A vehicle crash near Berry College has snarled traffic. Everything from the college up the mall is stopped. Please avoid and use detours.”
If we used some of those Atlanta radio traffic report expressions, we’d flash a red alert for Martha Berry/U.S. 27 this Thursday morning. A serious accident has the southbound lanes in front of Berry College slowed to a crawl and the northbound lanes aren’t much better.
Emergency crews remain at the scene, faced with the accident itself, rush hour traffic and the arrival of Berry students and staff. Traffic is stacking up along the Bypass from Harbin Clinic’s new pediatrics office to the Martha Berry intersection. Apparently another accident has occurred between Martha Berry and Riverside Parkway as you head toward State Mutual Stadium.
In addition to work, college and school commutes, the ACC men’s and women’s tennis tournament is continuing at the Rome Tennis Center at Berry College off the Armuchee Connector and Old Dalton Road.
If you’re coming into Rome from the north, please take the Armuchee Connector around to State Mutual Stadium and the Bypass/Riverside Parkway. Heading north of town? Try the reserve option.