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Former official killed in wreck

POSTED: April 28, 2010 4:00 a.m.
Michele Hester Dawson Community News/

Hwy. 53 was shut down for several hours Friday after a three-vehicle wreck that claimed the life of a Dawsonville man.

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A former Lumpkin County commissioner who spent the last several years in Dawsonville was killed Friday in a three-vehicle wreck near the War Hill community.


Authorities said Charlie Alex Ridley, 71, died at the scene of the collision, which occurred about 5 p.m. on Hwy. 53 between War Hill Park and Dawson Forest roads.


Authorities said Ridley was thrown from his sport utility vehicle after it collided with an oncoming vehicle that had crossed the centerline.


A spokesman with the state patrol’s Cumming post said Ridley’s SUV then flipped several times and struck a tractor-trailer on the eastbound side.


Emergency personnel on scene said it appeared Ridley, who was traveling alone, was not wearing a seat belt.


No one else was injured in the crash.


As of Tuesday, no charges had been filed. The Georgia State Patrol is handling the investigation.


Friday’s death was the second on Dawson County roads in 2010. Both have come in the past three weeks.


Sheryl Sheridan, 64, of Dahlonega died April 3 from injuries in a wreck near Hwy. 53 and Thompson Road.


Ridley served as Lumpkin County’s sole commissioner from 1997 to 2000.


At the time, the county was one of the few in Georgia that still operated under a single-person commission system.


Ridley was preceded in the office by J.B. Jones, who served for 24 years, and was suceeded by Steve Gooch.


Lumpkin County now is governed by a five-person commission.


During his tenure, Ridley spearheaded the development of Yahoola Creek Park, a Dahlonega sports complex that has been continued by his succesors on the commission.


Ridley also served on the local advisory board for Community Southern Bank, formerly Appalachian Community Bank.


Ridley is survived by his wife, Julia of Dawsonville; and children, Michael Ridley and Mitchell and Shay Ridley, all of Dahlonega, Michael Courson of Lithia Springs, and Tonya and Ed Guinn of Butler. Several grandchildren and great-grandchildren also survive.


Funeral services were Monday at First Baptist Church in Dawsonville.


Interment followed in Yahoola Baptist Church Cemetery in Dahlonega.


Stephen Gurr of the DCN regional staff contributed to this story.


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