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Alcohol suspected in head-on collision

Three hospitalized

POSTED: January 16, 2013 4:00 a.m.

Authorities say alcohol appears to have been a factor in a head-on collision Thursday night on Hwy. 53 that sent three people to area hospitals.

A spokeswoman with Georgia State Patrol said 54-year-old Kenneth Smith of Dawsonville faces several traffic violations, including driving under the influence.

He also has been charged with reckless driving, failure to maintain lane, no seat belt and headlight requirements.

According to the state patrol, Smith was traveling west on Hwy. 53 near Dawsonville Gun and Pawn when the 1985 Chevrolet pickup he was driving crossed the centerline and collided with another truck.

The driver of the other truck, 67-year-old Albert Whitlock of Jefferson, and wife Sally Whitlock, 66, were both taken to Atlanta Medical Center with what authorities described as non-life-threatening injuries.

Smith was taken to Northeast Georgia Medical Center with chest injuries.

State patrol spokeswoman Robin Stone said a Dawson County Sheriff's deputy was pursuing Smith when the collision occurred about 7 p.m.

"The crash was witnessed by two separate westbound drivers and by a Dawson County deputy who was trying to pull over the vehicle before the crash," she said.

"The witnesses said Mr. Smith traveled west on Hwy. 53 toward Dawsonville from the left turn lane at Lumpkin Campground Road. They watched him swerve across the roadway before striking [the vehicle]."

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