December 2, 2020

GSP reports four teens involved in fatal crash

(Newnan, GA) — The Georgia State Patrol has released further information this afternoon about the overnight accident in Coweta County that claimed the life of a Heard County teenager.

16-year-old Austin Walker Pope, a Heard High School junior, was killed instantly in the single-vehicle crash that occurred around 3:00 a.m. on Smokey Road near Country Lane. Three other Coweta County teenagers were also involved in the wreck.

According to a report by Trooper Ross Buchan, a 1998 Toyota 4-Runner occupied by the four teenagers traveled off and back on the roadway several times before overturning several times on the road.

The driver of the vehicle, 17-year-old Joseph (Joey) Brian Shelnutt, is currently in serious condition at Atlanta Medical Center.

Shelnutt and Pope (who was in the front passenger seat), were both ejected from the vehicle and neither was wearing a seat belt.

The two other backseat passengers, Braxton Kexavier Tucker, 17, of Grantville, and Andrew Daryl Mask, 17, of Newnan were not seriously injured.

According to Trooper Buchan, the accident is considered to be alcohol related and the investigation is ongoing. 

A candlelight vigil is being organized by a group of Heard High students at Prospect Church tonight in honor of their fallen classmate beginning at 6:00 p.m. 

Prospect Church is located at 4131 Hwy 34 just west of  Franklin.

Several extra counselors are expected to be on hand Monday at Heard High School to assist grief stricken students and friends.


  1. Heard County is in Mourning!

    Prayers and thoughts to our friends.

  2. brenda smith says

    It’s so heart breaking to lose a loved one but when it’s a child it’s more devastating. He will be missed by so many, I will miss his smile as he would come through my lunch line daily. My heart and prayers are with his family tonight a they will need all the prayers in the coming days. R.I.P. Austin

  3. Praying for the family I knew his aunt it is such a sad time

  4. Patti Williams says

    So sad.

  5. Wylene Spearman says

    Such sad news on a rainy day….. As the Lord sends rain, my eyes fill with tears as we mourn the death of Austin. At the Heard Elem. Fall Pageant, we paused in a moment of silence for the Pope Family. I teach at Heard High School and I’ll certainly miss speaking to Austin on his way to history class and seeing him with Will and his other friends at bus duty in the afternoon. The thought of this makes me feel weak right now. I know his family and friends are going through trying times. Let us pray that they find strength in the word of God.

  6. My children were friends with Austin, and to watch them in sadness is heartbreaking. I didn’t know Austin personally, but to hear my children and other HC kids speak of him, he was an awesome friend, very friendly, and an overall great person. This is such a tragic loss for Heard County. Too many kids getting hurt and passing, something needs to happen. We have lost too much in the past years. Please keep Austin’s family and friends in prayer. They all need God to help them understand “why” and to find some kind of peace with this. As a parent, I don’t have an answer to give my children as to why this happened, but GOD does and I pray they turn to Him to find the answers they all seek. Much love to you all!

  7. My daughter and her two friends spent a lot of time with Austin and are heartbroken that he is gone. My prayer is for his parents and brother to find comfort in knowing that he is hanging out with Jesus now. For all of the kids who knew Austin, I simply pray that you will live your lives in such a way that you will one day see him again. May God be with all of us until that day.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: