Wilkinson woman killed in crash; driver of other vehicle charged

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HANCOCK COUNTY — A 44-year-old Wilkinson woman died early Thursday of injuries suffered in a head-on crash involving an allegedly drunken driver.

Rachel Thomas was a passenger in a small sedan that was westbound on State Road 234 when it was struck by another small car driven by Leanna Murphy, 24, of Richmond. The accident happened about 12:45 a.m. Thursday near the intersection of Troy Road, east of State Road 9.

According to a news release from the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department, Murphy’s vehicle, a Mini Cooper, apparently crossed the centerline and struck the other car, a Ford Focus.

Thomas was taken to Hancock Regional Hospital, where she was pronounced dead. Three other people in the Focus and one other person in the Mini were injured, as was Murphy.

Murphy was tested for alcohol and drugs and was taken to the Hancock County Jail on a preliminary charge of operating a vehicle while intoxicated after she was treated for her injuries.

The Daily Reporter’s Ben Middelkamp is doing further reporting on this story. An update will appear in the Friday print edition of the Daily Reporter and online.