Police seek witness in J.R. Allen Parkway crash - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Police seek witness in J.R. Allen Parkway crash

By Lindsey Connell - bio | email

COLUMBUS, GA (WXTX) - Columbus police are searching for witnesses to an accident that claimed the life of a Smiths Station High School senior, just two weeks shy of her graduation.

The Muscogee County coroner pronounced her dead Monday night and the family is going through the process of donating her organs right now. 

The accident happened Sunday night at 7:15 on J.R. Allen Parkway.

Natalie Windham, 18, was driving westbound when an error behind the wheel forced her car into the median.

"She was in the center lane operating an SUV-type vehicle at which time traffic was attempting to merge onto JR Allen Parkway from the Bradley Park Drive entrance ramp. The victim overcompensated on her steering, at which time it cause her vehicle to enter into a yaw. The vehicle entered the median at which time it began to flip and rotate. There's evidence at the scene that the driver was not properly restrained in the vehicle and as a result, she received very serious injuries to her body and to her head," explained Lieutenant Mark D. Starling, who oversees the Columbus Police Department's Motor Squad.

Windham succumbed to her injuries Monday night at the Medical Center. Muscogee County Coroner Bill Thrower says a crowd of family and friends surrounded and filled her hospital room. He pronounced her dead at 9:30 PM from severe blunt force trauma injuries to her head and chest.

Now, Columbus Police are searching for a potential eyewitness who left the scene of the accident. Lieutenant Starling says a driver stopped at the scene with other witnesses and when he realized Windham was injured, he left.

"This individual is of interest to us as he may have information about this accident that could help our investigation and we would like very much to get him identified and have him come in and talk to us about what occurred with this incident," Starling said.

The driver is described as a white man, 6' tall with salt and pepper hair and a lazy left eye.

His car is described as a white Ford Ranger pickup truck 1993-1995 model with an extended cab and dark windows. It had a black bed liner and black tool box.

If you can help locate this person, you're asked to call the Traffic Division of the Columbus Department at either 706-225-4040 or 706-225-4490.  If your information leads to an arrest and indictment, you could receive a reward of up to $1,000 and you do not have to give your name.

Windham was a senior at Smiths Station High School. Lieutenant Starling says she was supposed to graduate in two weeks and planned to attend college.

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