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Man charged in historian’s death

Finley died 17 days after Hwy. 53 wreck

POSTED: August 22, 2012 4:00 a.m.


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A Gainesville man faces charges in connection with the collision that claimed the life of local historian and retired educator Charles Finley.

Mickey Lee Bunton, 67, turned himself in to authorities Aug. 14, the day after he was charged with second-degree vehicular homicide by the Georgia State Patrol, which investigated the wreck.

He was released from the Dawson County Detention Center the same day on $10,200 bond, records show.

According to the arrest warrant, Bunton "without intention" failed to maintain his lane as he traveled west on Hwy. 53 about 4:15 p.m. June 17, resulting in the head-on collision with Finley near the Dawson-Forsyth County line.

Both Finley and his wife, Kathy, were hospitalized. He died nearly three weeks later from injuries suffered in the crash. She has since been released from the hospital.

The couple's son, Ben Finley, said his mom is still recovering.

"She's doing a lot better. It's still going to be a long run, but she's making steps in the right direction," he said.

Known as an expert on Dawson County, Finley penned several books about local schools and at the time of his death was compiling an authoritative history of the county.

He was active in various organizations, including the Dawson County Historical and Genealogical Society, the Retired Educators Association and KARE for Kids.

He also had taught elementary school and worked for many years as a media specialist in the local school system.


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