Reward increased: witness to unsolved fatal crash speaks - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Reward increased: witness to unsolved fatal crash speaks publicly for first time

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witness: Terrance Banks witness: Terrance Banks
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WEST POINT, GA (WTVM) -

UPDATE:  Galen Mallory's family has announced Nov. 1st that the reward offered for information has reached a total of $10,000. 

Police are still looking for the driver who caused a devastating crash that took the life of a Troup County man and put another family in the hospital.       

Now, for the first time, a witness spoke exclusively to News Leader Nine and he described everything that took place on that fateful day in June.

He's the only person who saw what caused two cars to crash head-on, sending three people to a hospital with serious injuries, and taking a young college-bound son away from his parents.   A state police investigation and a family's hope of finding the person responsible rests entirely on the statements he's made.

After witnessing a catastrophe unfold before his very eyes, Terrance Banks said he turned around to see what he could do to help.  Two vehicles crashed and spun into a ditch; 20-year-old Galen Mallory lay unconscious in one, while the other caught fire and contained a family of three.

"I went to the SUV, and the guy, he actually crawled out of the burning SUV, and I saw his daughter in the back, so I helped pull his daughter out and I put her on the other side of the road. Just in case the vehicle exploded, I didn't want anyone to be in that path," said Banks. 

Banks said he helped to rescue the driver's wife and tried unsuccessfully to put the fire out.  

"We tried to pull her out of the vehicle, but her body was so hot, we had to put a shirt on my hand in order to help pull her out of the vehicle."

It's been over four months since the catastrophe on Highway 219 and police are doing everything they can to track down the person who ran from that crash scene. On Tuesday, Harris County Sheriff's deputies handed out fliers to every car driving down the road listing the $7,000 reward for information. Terrance Banks is the only person who saw the missing driver's face. 

"You could tell he was bobbing his head like he was dancing in the car, and before he even got to where the accident scene was, he had swerved off the road one time and came back on.   So at that point in time, when he swerved again, that's when he swerved in front of the SUV which caused the SUV to run off the road.   It seemed like he was listening to music, dancing to music, not paying attention.   That's what it seemed like at the time," said Banks, "When I looked at him, I looked in his side view mirror and I saw him looking back, so he had to acknowledge that he knew he had caused an accident." 

But as time continues to pass without a suspect being found, the family of Galen Mallory has expressed their concerns about the credibility and cooperation of the other parties who were present at the time of the collision.

"The witness [Banks] will not return my call and I've never spoken to the person who hit our son," said Mrs. Elaine Mallory. 

"He didn't follow the vehicle and he didn't get a tag number, he turned around to come back and try to help," said Mr. Kerry Mallory.

Mrs. Mallory added, "But he was behind the driver for a mile and a half, and said he was driving erratically, but he didn't get his tag number."

Banks denies receiving any calls from Mrs. Mallory and he responded to their concerns saying he had to make a choice,

"When I looked in my mirror, I could see a car that was on fire.   So I could either go after that car and try to find out what tag it was or go back and help those ones who were in trouble and I decided to help those ones who were in trouble.   I was willing to help any family member.   If I wasn't, why would I put my life in danger in a burning vehicle?"

Tuesday evening, News Leader Nine went to the home of the other driver involved in this crash but he told our reporter he doesn't remember what the other car looked like or any other details because it happened too quickly. He declined to speak on camera and wouldn't answer any other questions.   There's still a cash reward for anyone who can find the small gray vehicle that caused this crash on Highway 219 South, June 25 at approximately 6:30 p.m. Banks described the driver of that car or SUV, possibly a Suzuki or a Honda, as a white male in his 20s.

Galen Mallory's family has established a Facebook page that will keep you informed about the latest developments and the current amount of the reward which has been increasingly steadily.

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