A local historian and his wife suffered serious injuries in a head-on collision Saturday afternoon near the Dawson-Forsyth county line.
Charles and Kathy Finley of Dawsonville were flown to Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta in critical condition following a two-vehicle wreck about 4:15 p.m. on Hwy. 53, just east of War Hill Park Road.
The driver of the second vehicle, 66-year-old Mickey Bunton of Gainesville, was flown to Atlanta Medical Center in serious but stable condition, according to Dawson County Emergency Services Battalion Chief Robby Lee.
Dawson County Sheriff Billy Carlisle, who was at the scene of the wreck, said it that Bunton was traveling east on Hwy. 53 when he attempted to negotiate a curve and "ran off the shoulder, overcorrected and came back on the road, crossed the center line and struck the Finleys head on."
The busy corridor was closed for several hours while emergency crews worked to free the injured and clear the scene.
"They were all in critical condition because it was such a severe impact," said Billy Thurmond, emergency services director. "Forsyth County sent an engine and their heavy rescue unit to help with the extrications."
A spokeswoman with Georgia State Patrol, which is investigating the wreck, said no charges have been filed in the case.
Considered an expert on Dawson County, Charles Finley, 64, has penned several books about local schools and is currently working on an authoritative history of the county.
"He's been working on it for about the last two years and was hoping to have it finished this fall so it could go to press for Christmas," said Helen Taylor, a member of the local historical society.
"He has a multigenerational love for history and the fabric of Dawson County."
He also taught elementary school and worked for many years as a media specialist in the local school system.
Longtime friend and colleague Nicky Gilleland, former Dawson County school superintendent, said Charles Finley remains in critical condition at Grady.
"Charles, his airbag didn't deploy. I'm not sure why," Gilleland said. "He's beat up and banged up. They said every big bone except in his right leg was broken. He's always been such a good friend to me."
Kathy Finley, 62, was released from the intensive care unit and moved to a private room Monday, according to Gilleland.
"She's doing better, but they are waiting to operate on her foot," he said.
In a text message sent Monday morning, the couple's son, Ben, said his father was far from "being out of the woods yet" and asked for prayers.