Atlanta police are investigating a crash that killed a grandmother driving to church Sunday morning on Lee Street in southwest Atlanta.
Juanita Waters, 68, was driving her Honda Accord when she stopped or slowed down near the traffic light at Van Buren Street. Police said the driver of a Ford Taurus slammed into her from behind at a high rate of speed.
The collision caused Waters severe injuries and sparked a small fire in the car.
One witness told Channel 2 Action News that the driver was going way too fast and likely didn’t see her.
“My thought is that the other car that was coming northbound hit her without even slowing down,” said John Hopper, who was inside the church right across the street.
He said he saw the flames licking up around Waters in the driver's seat and tried patting them out with his hands. Hopper then tried to cut her free.
“I went back in to stick my hands into the flames and cut the seat belt, but I couldn’t get her loose,” he said.
Fire rescue crews freed Waters from the car, but she later died at the hospital from her injuries from the collision.
Water’s granddaughter, Lakeisha Ware, said she was driving to a new church.
“It could have happened to anybody, but happened to my grandmother,” she said.
She describes the woman who raised her as full of joy.
“She loved her children, grandchildren…a loving mother, grandmother, friend,” said Ware.
Atlanta police have not released the name of the second driver involved or announced if he will face any changes.
Witnesses said he was a young man with a young woman riding with him. He was hurt in the accident, but his injuries were not severe.