The happiest day of a newlywed Georgia couple’s life took a tragic turn over the weekend when the groom was killed and the bride badly hurt in a car crash leaving the wedding reception.
Crystal Orzechowski, 35, is in the hospital and has been upgraded from critical to fair condition, according to news reports.
Brian Orzechowski, 36, an Iraq veteran, was pronounced dead at the scene after the vehicle he was driving crossed into another lane and struck a car, investigators told HLN affiliate WRDW.
The accident happened Saturday evening as the just-married couple was driving away from their wedding reception in a suburb of Augusta, Georgia, according to his mother.
"Pieces of his car. This is what I got to remind me how my son died," Brenda Erhart told WRDW. The couple, who had known each other for nearly 30 years, tied the knot in Erhart's backyard.
"I've been calling his phone just so I could hear his voice. I love you, Brian. And I miss you so much. I wish you could come home," she tearfully told the station.
Brian Orzechowski did three tours in Iraq and another in Afghanistan, the station reports.
"Every time we were playing Army games when he used to be in Iraq and all that, we'd say, 'What name do you want to be in the Army?' And I would say Uncle Brian. We used to always look up to him. I hope that in heaven I can see him," his nephews Chase Banks and Gregory Williams said to WRDW.
Deputies say Orzechowski was not intoxicated, although the investigation is ongoing. The driver of the other car, Torvoy Curry, 35, has not been charged and is not at fault, police told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Fellow soldiers that served with Orzechowski are en route to Georgia for his funeral, his mother told WRDW.