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County worker killed in head-on wreck
Other driver, 18, charged in death
WEB 1 old federal fatal JD
Old Federal Road was closed Monday afternoon after a fatal crash involving a motorcycle and passenger car. - photo by Jim Dean

A 50-year-old longtime Forsyth County government employee was killed Monday afternoon when a motorcycle and vehicle collided head on in northwestern Forsyth.

According to a Forsyth County Sheriff’s report, John Lester Padgett of Jasper died at the scene of the wreck on Old Federal Road, just north of Blanton Lane near the Cherokee County line.

The report said the collision occurred about 3:50 p.m. when a 2008 Mazda 3 being driven by Kaley Ashton Quarles, 18, of Kesler Court, came over a hill in a curve on the wrong side of the road and struck Padgett’s 1984 Honda VF1100.

According to the report, Quarles has been charged with second-degree vehicular homicide and driving on the wrong side of the road.

She was treated at the scene for minor injuries and taken to the Forsyth County Detention Center.

Quarles, who the report said was later released after posting a $2,805 bond, is scheduled to appear Aug. 3 in State Court.

Padgett was the manager of fleet services for Forsyth’s government, where he had worked for 21 years.

Avery Gravitt, director of fleet services, said the department is “still in shock” about Padgett’s death.

He’s received many phone calls and e-mails from people who appreciated Padgett and the work he did over the years.

“Johnny was a very friendly and helpful person,” Gravitt said. “He enjoyed laughing and having a good time with folks. He’ll be greatly missed.”

The collision was the second of two involving motorcycles on Monday in north Forsyth.

According to sheriff’s reports, the first occurred about 10:24 a.m. when a 2007 Suzuki 400 motorcycle rear-ended a Honda Accord that was stopping for the traffic light at Ga. 400 and Martin Road.

The driver of the motorcycle, 53-year-old Leeann Zaleski of Dawson County, remained hospitalized Tuesday at North Fulton Hospital in Roswell.

Zaleski, who is being treated for what were described as non-life threatening injuries, has been charged with following too close.

Neither the driver of the Honda nor her two child passengers were injured, reports said.