Sisters die in Oconee crash; mother charged

January 1, 2014

Two young sisters, ages 4 and 1, are the first traffic fatalities of 2014 in Oconee County. County Coroner Karl Addis says the children died in a single vehicle collision which occurred at 2:15 AM Wednesday on Wells Highway, near Utica Baptist Church in Seneca. Police say the vehicle was traveling east when its driver, the mother of the children, lost control of the car. Investigators say the vehicle crossed the centerline, exited the road striking the church sign, and overturned on the church property. Addis says First Responders extricated the children, who were restrained. Addis identifies the victims as 1 year-old Taniyia Chavez Leann Gambrell and 4 year-old Saryia Unique Patton-Dean. The Coroner says Taniyia was found in a child safety seat and died at the scene. Saryia was restrained by a shoulder strap and, in addition to head injuries, suffered cardiac arrest at the scene. She was taken to Oconee Medical Center where she was pronounced dead at 3:13 AM.  Police have charged the mother, Melissa Patton, with two counts of felony driving under the influence and driving under suspension. As of Wednesday night, she was being held at the Oconee Detention Center on a $50,652.50 bond.

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