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Roads were focus of holiday issues

Crash on bridge, DUIs keep authorities busy

POSTED: September 3, 2013 6:01 p.m.
 

The Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office had a busy Labor Day weekend on the roads and a calm one on the water.

An overturned pickup truck and trailer blocked the Six Mile Creek Bridge on Browns Bridge Road for about an hour and 45 minutes Sunday night, said sheriff’s office spokesman Doug Rainwater.

“A truck pulling a trailer flipped and it was literally on the bridge, so there was no way of going around that one,” he said.

The driver was taken by helicopter to an area hospital with serious injuries, Rainwater said. The man was in stable condition Tuesday.

Deputies also made about double the typical number of arrests for driving under the influence on a holiday weekend, he said.

Ten people were cited for DUI from Saturday to Monday, including one for DUI-drugs, according to jail log records. Two of those were also charged with DUI-child endangerment.

Rainwater said some of those drivers were arrested at safety checkpoints set up throughout the county during the weekend.

The office concentrated that effort late Saturday night and near Lake Lanier on Sunday, he said.

“I think because of the weather, the lake was quiet,” Rainwater said.

The state Department of Natural Resources reported incidents elsewhere on Lanier over the weekend, including six boating under the influence citations and a personal watercraft accident, where the operator struck a metal object in the water near the mouth of Shoal Creek. The collision punctured a hole in the hull and threw the operator into the windshield.

The other incident occurred Saturday when a rental boat was banged up while docked at Aqualand Marina during a storm.

Along Amicalola Creek, authorities identified and recovered the body of an Atlanta man who apparently drowned.

A diver with the Dawson County dive team found the body of 45-year-old Ramiro Ponce-Ruiz on Monday afternoon, according to the DNR.

Ponce-Ruiz had apparently drowned Sunday afternoon at Devil’s Elbow in the Dawson Forest Wildlife Management Area.

According to witness accounts, he was swimming with family and friends when he swam out from the bank and dove under. When he surfaced, he was struggling and then went back under. His body was found in about 20 feet of water.

The search effort included DNR Law Enforcement Division rangers, the Dawson County Sheriff’s Office and Fire Department, Dawson County’s dive team and divers from Cherokee County. Hall County Sheriff’s Office dive team members also helped with assessing the dive.

The death was the state’s only drowning over the holiday weekend, which typically signals the end of the summer outdoor recreation season.

Two other deaths were considered caused by boating incidents.

A 23-year-old Atlanta man died after jumping off a boat in Lake Allatoona, while a 61-year-old Augusta man died while kayaking in the Savannah River near Augusta.

 

Emma Witman of the FCN regional staff contributed to this report.

 

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