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Authorities urge safety this holiday weekend

POSTED: July 1, 2009 4:00 a.m.

A wreck Monday morning shut down both lanes of Dawson Forest Road after a Dawsonville man left the road way and careened down a 25 foot embankment.


The man, who reportedly was not wearing a seat belt, was thrown from his utility van and taken to an area hospital with non life-threatening injuries, according to emergency services personnel on the scene.


“He is lucky to be alive,” said paramedic Barry Quarlls.


The wreck was turned over to Georgia State Patrol, which is encouraging motorists to keep safety their top priority this July Fourth weekend.


Local authorities and state troopers will be on high alert this holiday weekend, which begins Thursday at 6 p.m. and ends at midnight Sunday, July 5 in an effort to keep the holiday traffic count as low as possible.


Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Safety Bill Hitchens said Monday that Georgia State Troopers and officers with the Department’s Motor Carrier Compliance Division will be patrolling throughout the weekend


“Our troopers and [Department’s Motor Carrier Compliance Division] officers will be concentrating on the most common violations identified as contributing factors in fatal traffic crashes,” he said. “Speeding, impaired driving and failing to wear occupant safety equipment top the list.”


Traffic crashes during the 2008 July Fourth holiday travel period claimed the lives of 22 people in Georgia. There were 1,860 traffic crashes reported and 910 people injured.


Lt. Tony Wooten, with the Dawson County Sheriff’s Office, advises drivers to plan their trips this weekend and take time getting to destinations. “With the holiday falling on the weekend, there is a higher chance of encountering an impaired driver. It’s best to stay off the roads during those times,” he said.


Last year, two of the 22 traffic deaths statewide were alcohol related.


E-mail Michele Hester at


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