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Man killed in Athens one-car collision

By Joe Johnson

A Jackson County man reportedly was killed Thursday afternoon in a one-car collision on a a south Athens roadway.

According to an Athens-Clarke County police report, 20-year-old Austin Marjuan Tarpkins of Commerce was driving a 2002 Ford Escape north on South Lumpkin Street shortly after noon, when the car overturned while rounding a curve near Gran Ellen Drive.

The car completed a half-roll before it struck a tree while upside down, killing the driver at the scene, the police report noted.

A 19-year-old front seat passenger sustained minor injuries and was transported to Piedmont Athens Regional Medical Center for evaluation, according to the report.

The report further noted that a motorist who had been driving in front of Tarpkin’s car stated that he had just finished rounding the same curve when he saw in his rearview mirror the Ford Escape traveling at a high rate of speed before it crashed.

The investigation remains ongoing. Anyone that may have witnessed the crashed is asked to contact Senior Police Officer Shawn Denmark at 762-400-7364 or via email at

This is the first fatal motor vehicle crash of 2022 in Athens-Clarke County, after the county experienced a record high 24 traffic fatalities in 2021.

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1 Comment

Erin Lahey
Erin Lahey
Jan 21, 2022

That’s a dangerous curve and many don’t observe the speed limit unfortunately. It’s sad to have a life lost this way.

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