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Wreck claims ‘fun-loving guy’

Collision marks county's fifth fatality of 2009

POSTED: May 20, 2009 4:00 a.m.

A 63-year-old Dawsonville great-grandfather who friends said never met a stranger died Saturday, four days after he was badly injured in a four-vehicle, chain-reaction wreck on Ga. 400.

  

Travis R. Puckett’s death is the fifth on Dawson County roads this year and second in less than a week.

  

It also comes as authorities are preparing for the busy Memorial Day holiday weekend, the unofficial kickoff to summer.

  

“There are going to be more people on our roads this weekend, so I want to encourage everyone to drive carefully, wear their seat belts and be patient,” said Dawson County Sheriff’s Lt. Tony Wooten.

  

Puckett, the only serious injury in the May 12 collision, was taken to Northeast Georgia Medical Center, where he died early Saturday.

  

A spokeswoman with the Georgia State Patrol’s Cumming post said Puckett was waiting to turn onto Hwy. 136 from Ga. 400 south when the driver of a Ford Ranger struck a utility truck, which then collided with Puckett’s 1986 Chevrolet pickup.

  

Roy Evans of Dawsonville, who was driving the Ford Ranger, was cited with failure to yield. Authorities have not ruled out additional charges.

  

A native of Hall County and former Buford resident, Puckett had lived in Dawsonville for several years. He had made many friends in the area, including Robbie Mingo.

  

“He knew a lot of people,” Mingo said. “Maybe not always by name, but by face and from talking to them on his travels around town.”

  

Mingo said Puckett often sat out on the bench in front of Goodson’s Pharmacy and chatted with whoever was at the store that day.

  

“A lot of people come and hang out here, and he was one of them,” said Phillip Goodson, owner of the downtown pharmacy. “He’d come by here and sit outside for a while.

  

“We used to kid him a lot that he never really grew up. He was a real fun-loving guy.”

  

Funeral services for Puckett were held May 19 at Flanigan Funeral Home in Buford. Survivors include his former wife, four daughters, nine grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

  

Puckett was the fifth fatality of the year on county roads. There were 10 traffic deaths in 2008.

  

Residents have started taking notice.

  

“We all take driving for granted,” Mingo said. “People have got to start paying attention.”

  

In the most recent fatality, 54-year-old Ronnie Voyles of Marble Hill died May 10 from injuries in a motorcycle wreck at Hwy. 53 and Elliott Family Parkway.

  

Three local teenagers also lost their lives in separate wrecks between February and April.

  

Kolton Findley, 18, was killed April 17 in a one-vehicle wreck on Hugh Stowers Road.

  

Nearly a month earlier, on March 11, 16-year-old Jake Fausett, died when he lost control of his vehicle on Hwy. 136 on the way home from school.

  

A two-vehicle wreck on Feb. 23 on Coltrane Road claimed the life of 18-year-old Tyler Hutchison.

  

E-mail Michele Hester at michele@dawsonnews.com.

 

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