On Saturday, 22-year-old UGA student Quinton Ayers went missing. Authorities said Ayers’ cellphone was last pinpointed in the area of Highway 316 and Harins Road– the exact route truck driver Joe Dehart travels daily.
On Monday, the Oconee County Sheriff’s office posted the following bulletin on its site: “We have information that he may have left Athens enroute to Adairsville, but he never arrived there,” the advisory said. “His last known cell phone activity was traced to a location in Gwinnett County near the airport,” WSB Radio reported.
Dehart heard about the missing student and that his last known location was along his daily route, so he began scouring the area, looking for Ayers’ vehicle.
“It had to be the good Lord saying ‘look somebody’s got to find this baby’,” Dehart told WSB.
Dehart was traveling his work route, along highway 316, when he spotted the undercarriage of a vehicle in the woods. He quickly called 911.
An hour later, Dehart had completed his route and headed home. When he passed the location where he spotted the vehicle, he noticed authorities were not on the scene, so he called 911 again and waited for authorities to show up.
The Daily Tribune reported Ayers’ black GMC pickup was 100 feet into the woods, down a steep hill and against a tree. Responders on the scene said it appears Ayers’ pickup struck the tree head-on at ‘a significant speed.’
Sadly, Ayers did not survive.
Authorities said it would have been difficult for most vehicles to spot the vehicle’s wreckage because of the crash location.
Cpl. Jake Smith of the Gwinnett County Police Department told the Daily Tribune “the only way anyone could have seen the pickup sitting off the road was to be sitting high up at the right angle, as the truck driver was in his tractor-trailer.”