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Hapeville man dies in motorcycle wreck on Ga. 400
A-Fatality Wreck pic
Dawson County Sheriffs Office and emergency services personnel, as well as personnel from the Georgia State Patrol, work the scene of a fatality on Ga. 400 the afternoon of May 26. - photo by Allie Dean

A Hapeville man was killed in a motorcycle wreck on Ga. 400 in Dawsonville last week while being pursued by a Georgia State Patrol trooper.

According to a press release from the Georgia State Patrol, at about 2 p.m. on May 26, a Post 37 Cumming Trooper tried to stop a 2006 Suzuki GSXR motorcycle for speeding near the Dawson and Lumpkin county line.

The motorcyclist, Charles Arnold Painter, 46, reportedly fled from the trooper at a high rate of speed, traveling south on Ga. 400.

According to the report, as Painter fled, he was weaving in and out of traffic. He struck the left front corner of a 2014 Hyundai Sonata that was entering the Ga. 400 southbound lanes from Dawson 400 Circle.

The motorcycle overturned and traveled into the median where it broke into several pieces and caught fire, the report said.

Painter was thrown from the motorcycle and was pronounced dead at the scene.

He was wearing a Department of Transportation compliant helmet.

The occupants of the Hyundai Sonata, Melissa Dawn Litton, 36, of Gainesville and a one-year-old male, were not injured, according to the state patrol. The child was in a rear-facing child restraint seat.

The state patrol trooper was not involved in the crash.

According to authorities, Painter did not possess a license to operate a motorcycle at the time of the crash. The motorcycle did not have a tag and was not insured at the time of the crash.

Alcohol and drugs are not suspected to have been involved at this time.

Currently, charges are not expected to be filed, however the incident is still under investigation.

One northbound lane and one southbound lane of Ga. 400 was closed due to the crash and investigation until about 6:45 p.m. Friday.

Head-on collision injures three
A two-vehicle wreck shut down Price Road at Toto Creek Park for several hours the morning of May 24.

According to Dawson County Emergency Services Chief Lanier Swafford, Dawson 911 received a call around 7 a.m. that a two car head-on collision had occurred.

The first units on scene found two pickup trucks, one of which was on fire.

According to Georgia State Patrol spokeswoman Robin Stone, the wreck occurred at approximately 6:58 a.m.

A report reads that Dustin Watkins, of Dawsonville, was driving a 1999 Dodge Ram north on Hwy. 136, a tenth of a mile south of Henry Grady Hwy. Dana Holland of Dawsonville was a passenger in Watkin's vehicle and was riding without a seatbelt.

Jose Valenzuelagaban, of Gainesville, was driving a 2006 Ford F250 south on Hwy. 136 when Watkins, failing to maintain lane, caused his vehicle to travel on the wrong side of the roadway and strike Valenzuelagaban's truck head-on, according to the report.

Holland, Watkins and Valenzuelagaban were out of the vehicles upon arrival of emergency personnel.

Dawson County transported one patient in serious condition and one in critical condition to Northeast Georgia Medical Center and Hall County transported one patient to the medical center in stable condition, according to Swafford.

Watkins is charged with driving under the influence of drugs, two counts of serious injury by vehicle, reckless driving, failure to maintain lane, seatbelt violation and no proof of insurance.