Pedestrian struck, killed in Decatur Co. -, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Pedestrian struck, killed in Decatur Co.

April 26, 2006

Decatur Co.- A Bainbridge woman is struck and killed walking along Highway 97 early Wednesday morning in Decatur County. The truck driver spotted the women moments before the collision and couldn't stop in time.

It was just before one o'clock when the Sexton Farms driver crested this hill on Highway 97, ten miles north of Bainbridge. A warning from the driver in front of him came too late.

"The truck in front saw the woman, picked up the microphone on the CB and said, 'Hey, there's a woman up here' by the time he said it, it was too late," said SFC J.C. Johnson, Georgia State Patrol Donalsonville.

Thirty seven year old Mary Clemons had stopped and was standing in the southbound lanes with her back to the truck. The driver, Willie Hawkins of Camilla, struck Clemons, tossing her body 184 feet, killing her.

"There was nothing they could do, she just stepped out there and he hit her," said Johnson.

Both investigators and the Department of Transportation surveyed the scene this morning. The GSP believes Hawkins did what he could to stop in time.

"It can take as much as 500 feet to stop a loaded trailer or unloaded as far as that goes, and in this case he was able to get stopped safely at 400 feet, he didn't lock it down or brake it down," said Johnson.

The Georgia State Patrol cautions others who might be out, walking after dark.

"If a vehicle is approaching, you need to pay attention to that and get out of the way and let them get past if you're going to walk on the road, at least pay attention to your surroundings," said Johnson.

The investigation remains open. Hawkins is not expected to be charged, and the GSP is waiting for Clemon's toxicology tests before a ruling will be made.

The truck was inspected by the Motor Carrier Compliance Division of the G.S.P. They did find some safety issues with standard equipment, but nothing that was related to this accident. Hawkins will be cited for those violations.