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Wrecks include year’s first fatality

POSTED: March 6, 2013 4:00 a.m.

A Dahlonega man died Sunday after a wreck on Ga. 400 in northern Dawson County.

Clayton Patterson, 69, was flown by helicopter to Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta following a single-vehicle crash, which occurred about noon near the Dawson-Lumpkin County line.

A spokeswoman with Georgia State Patrol's Cumming Post said Patterson was pronounced dead later that afternoon at the hospital.

According to authorities, Patterson was not wearing a seat belt when his 2003 Jeep Liberty left Ga. 400 south in a curve and flipped several times near Landrum Road.

Speed was not considered a factor in the crash, said Robin Stone with the state patrol, nor were drugs and alcohol.

The death was the first of 2013 on Dawson County roads.

On Monday afternoon, emergency officials responded to a wreck in the parking lot of Arby's in which the driver later died.

Dawson County Emergency Services Director Billy Thurmond said James Nowell, 68, of Dawsonville had a "medical issue" while driving. He was pronounced dead a short time later at Northside Hospital-Forsyth.

"This is not considered a traffic fatality," Thurmond said.

Earlier on Monday, a Dawson County school bus ran off the road and into a ditch near Amicalola Church and Afton roads.

"We had about 15 elementary school students from Robinson on the bus at the time and none of them were hurt," said School Superintendent Keith Porter. "They were all checked out by emergency workers and released to their parents."

Porter said the bus driver, whose name has not been released, was taken by ambulance to Northside Hospital-Forsyth, where she was treated and released.

He said the incident appeared to have been caused by a medical condition.

"She did not have injuries from the accident," he said. "We are very thankful that the children and bus driver are well."

There was minimum damage to the bus, which was driven back to the bus shop, according to Porter.

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