Car wreck damages dozens of headstones

by: Linda Stouffer Updated:

NEWNAN, Ga.,None - Workers in Newnan spent the day cleaning up around 48 grave sites that were damaged in a car crash.

Cemetery Superintendent Jimmy Hemmings said it's a shame to see the cracks and deep scars on family monuments in the Oak Hill Cemetery.

Hemmings said some are worth thousands and impossible to duplicate.

"Always respect the cemetery. My loved ones are buried here, very sentimental," he said.

Newnan police tell Channel 2's Linda Stouffer the damage was caused by an out-of-control teenage driver.

Officer Chris Sudduth said a 17-year-old was driving within the cemetery at about 50 mph.

"They said they were just going for a ride through the cemetery," Sudduth said.

The car skidded into one large family monument, and then it went flying into others, Sudduth said.

Oak Hill has been a final resting place for generations of families, so locating the families is a difficult task for Public Works Director Michael Klar.

"It is a shame; it is a shame," Klar told Stouffer.

Klar said he's looking for "descendants or anyone that might still be associated with the lot, to let them know what happened -- as early as the 1930s, perhaps."

Stouffer tried to find the accused driver, Carl Harbin Jr. The 1997 Mercedes is registered in his father's name. No one answered at the home.

Harbin faces a reckless driving charge. Police said Harbin and the four other occupants had only minor injuries from the wreck.

Hemmings said the teens are lucky it wasn't worse.

"They need to be thankful to God that they are alive. I know it's bad enough to what happened. Maybe sometime they need to come to the cemetery and just look. This is where your loved ones are. Respect them; let them rest in peace," Hemmings said.

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