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‘There are no words’: Ga. deputy’s wife, kids among 5 killed in fiery wreck

Deputy Patrick Neil Holtzclaw tragically lost the love of his life along with his son and daughter, both under 7 years old


Georgia Law Enforcement

By David Aaro
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

GAINESVILLE, Ga. — Five people are dead, including the wife and two young children of a Hall County, Georgia, deputy, following a fiery multivehicle wreck along a busy highway in Habersham County on Sunday afternoon.

A fundraiser has been set up for Deputy Patrick Neil Holtzclaw, who is now faced with unspeakable tragedy. He is forced to bury the love of his life along with his son and daughter, both under seven years old.

“What can you say when someone loses his entire family?” Sheriff Gerald Couch wrote in a statement. “There are no words that can adequately express the heartbreak the Holtzclaw family is experiencing right now, but clearly our entire agency is devastated for them.”

The crash happened at about 3:30 p.m. just outside the town of Alto. Troopers said Avonlea Holtzclaw, 29, of Dahlonega, was traveling with her kids in a Ford Explorer and tried to cross the southbound lanes of Ga. 365 onto Mount Zion Road. That’s when 58-year-old Mitchell Boggs of Marietta, who was driving south on the highway in a Corvette with another passenger, struck her vehicle.

Both the Explorer and Corvette caught on fire, and there were no survivors, according to the GSP. The passenger in Boggs’ vehicle was not publicly identified. The sheriff’s office asked that the names of the deputy’s children, ages five and six, not be released.

“Marty, the girls, and I are asking all Georgians to join us in praying for Deputy Holtzclaw as he mourns his wife and children after this tragedy,” Gov. Brian Kemp tweeted Monday.

The sheriff’s office said it hopes to have details on how to financially help Holtzclaw by Thursday. Couch previously announced a pledge to support the deputy in the “coming days, weeks and months.”

“We appreciate the many law enforcement agencies that have reached out asking how they can help. If I know our community, they will want to offer support, too,” the sheriff added. “For now, we ask that you remember Deputy Holtzclaw in your prayers and give him time to grieve privately.”


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