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Motorcyclist crashes into woods, couple injured in fiery wreck in Athens

Athens-Clarke County police are investigating two separate wrecks that injured a motorcyclist and a couple who attempted to avoid some deer.
Athens-Clarke County police are investigating two separate wrecks that injured a motorcyclist and a couple who attempted to avoid some deer.
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Police in Athens are investigating two separate, but serious wrecks that happened Sunday and which left three people injured including a husband and wife whose vehicle became engulfed in flames.

The first wreck happened around 3:20 p.m. on Binion Road, according to Athens-Clarke County police. Investigators said 36-year-old Jonathan Rucker, of Binion Road, was heading west bond on a motorcycle, allegedly at a high rate of speed, when he reached the Herbert Road intersection and was unable to stop.

His motorcycle left the roadway and entered a wooded area where is struck several trees and bushes before coming to a stop, police spokeswoman Hilda Sorrow said. Rucker was transported to the Athens Regional Medical Hospital, but his condition was unknown late Monday. It’s unclear if Rucker was wearing a helmet.

The second wreck happened hours later at 11:25 p.m. on Lexington Road, Sorrow said. Carlos Antonio Smith, of Highland Park Drive, was driving a 2000 Pontiac Grand Prix, east on Lexington Road when several deer ran into the roadway just after he past the intersection of Dunlap Road, Sorrow said.

Smith swerved to avoid striking the deer and his vehicle crossed the west bound lane and struck a guardrail, police said. The Pontiac then crossed over the east bound lane and went into a ditch, Sorrow said.

“After striking a stump, the vehicle went airborne, came to rest approximately 30 feet from the road, and caught fire,” she said.

Smith and his wife, Priscilla Ann Smith, were transported to St. Mary’s Hospital, Sorrow said. Their conditions were not known late Monday, but Sorrow said they were both wearing seat belts at the time of the wreck.