April 27, 2017

Driver Injured in Prince Avenue Wreck


Photo Credit: Austin Steele

Bystanders gather around an injured driver after a wreck outside Hendershot's this afternoon.

A three-car wreck on Prince Avenue injured one person and startled dozens of others on the patio at the Bottleworks—and it could've been a lot worse.

Flagpole was on the scene, of course, since it happed right outside our office.

At about 12:40 p.m., according to witnesses, a purple sedan traveling westbound on Prince suddenly swerved or turned, hitting a white SUV and a silver hatchback.

The driver of the purple sedan was lying on the ground for several minutes before an ambulance arrived, and suffered a "serious injury," according to Athens-Clarke County police spokesman Epifiano Rodriguez.

Luckily, no pedestrians were in the crosswalk at the time. And some quick thinking by Chris Threlkulb, the driver of the silver hatchback, may have saved several lives.

After the purple sedan hit his car while he was driving eastbound toward downtown, it spun out of control, and Threlkulb found that the accelerator was stuck. He was headed straight for the diners at the sidewalk tables outside The Grit (where, coincidentally, Flagpole photographer Austin Steele was eating lunch). 


Photo Credit: Austin Steele

"I tried to steer it so I wasn't going down the [Prince] sidewalk," said Threlkulb, who credited his driving skills to racing go-karts for 26 years. "I just ran it into the wall to get it to stop."

The runaway car mowed down The Grit's bike rack before coming to a stop wedged between the wall and a parked car on Newton Street.

Ironically, Threlkulb is a regional director for the state Emergency Medical Services. He was carrying materials for an awards ceremony tonight in Oconee County.

Prince was closed completely eastbound and one westbound lane was closed for about an hour after the crash.