A tragic accident Monday claimed the life of the Pickens mother and daughter.
Photo from Tiffany Allen-Stephens Facebook
Progress staff reports
[Additional reporting from Mark Millican, Ellijay Times Courier]
A Pickens County mother and daughter were killed Monday morning in a tragic wreck on Highway 515 about three miles south of Ellijay as the 16-year-old was driving her mother to work.
Talking Rock residents Tiffany Allen-Stephens, 32, and her daughter Kelsie Sierra Stephens, 16, both died as a result of the two-car wreck as they were entering the four-lane road from a short spur road, the Highway 382 Connector, according to reports given to the Ellijay Times Courier from Gilmer Coroner Jerry Hensley.
The Stephens’ vehicle was a Chevrolet Malibu and the car they struck was a Toyota SUV, according to accident reports.
No information was available about the driver and/or passengers in the Toyota.
Both the Stephens were taken from the scene by helicopter and died later at area hospitals – Sierra at Wellstar Kennestone and her mother at North Georgia Medical Center in Ellijay after her flight diverted back when she went into arrest, according to the Times Courier report.
The official state patrol report was not available by press time. A preliminary report stated, “[At] approximately 10:50 this morning, a vehicle was stopped eastbound on SR-5 Alternate at Georgia 2. Another vehicle was traveling in the left southbound lane of Georgia 2 towards SR-5 Alternate. The first vehicle failed to yield after stopping, and traveled into the path of the second vehicle striking it on the front end. The driver and passenger of the first vehicle were fatally wounded during this crash.”
Gilmer Fire & Rescue Chief Tony Pritchett told the Times Courier that when his department arrived on the scene just after 10:45 a.m. they found two vehicles with "extensive damage." He said both women had “severe” injuries.
Following news of the wreck, there was an outpouring of emotion including a candlelight vigil Monday night at Lee Newton Park, which drew more than 100 people including many students.
Sierra Stephens was a popular student at Pickens High. The rising junior was described by one teacher as a talented student and athlete. She took advanced placement classes and played on the basketball team among other activities.
JMS basketball coach Kenton Baggs, whose team Sierra played on from 2009 to 2011, posted the following on his Facebook page: “After many years and hundreds of players, I can honestly say that Sierra Stephens was one of my all time favorites. I can't count the number of times I turned to the other girls on the bench and said ‘I love that girl’ after she had dived for a loose ball or took a charge or battled someone a foot taller than her and took a rebound from them. I will miss her and her mom more than I can say."
Tiffany was also well known around the county from working in different restaurants. She was working at Longhorns in Ellijay at the time of the crash.
Jason Carpenter, the kitchen manager at Longhorn Steakhouse in East Ellijay, told the Times Courier, “She had a great work ethic, and with her demeanor and personality she touched all our lives here. Tiffany was an amazing woman and an amazing mother. She would do anything in the world for her children (also had two sons). She would lay down whatever it was to make sure they were taken care of, to take them to events. She is going to be missed. It’s very tragic.”
Tiffany and Sierra are survived by their husband/father Willie and sons/brothers Ian Lewis Stephens and Dominic Stephens. Both obituaries appears on page 11A.
The joint funeral for both mother and daughter will be held at 2 p.m. Friday, July 25, at Pickens High School Performing Arts Center with the Rev. Leland Jones officiating.