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Driver sentenced in fatal accident
Man's death was one of three after 2011 ice storm
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Forsyth County News

A Suwanee woman will serve one year on probation for a January 2011 two-vehicle wreck that killed a 69-year-old man.

Catherine Ann Hoover, 62, pleaded no contest to vehicular homicide and failure to yield Wednesday in Forsyth County State Court.

Hoover received a sentence of 12 months on probation, 100 hours of community service and $1,100 in fines for her role in the accident.

She will also donate $500 to God’s House of Prayer in Ducktown, which was the church of Grady Chapman.

Chapman, a Ball Ground resident, was killed Jan. 17, 2011, when Hoover’s Mercedes ML320 struck the driver's side of his Ford Ranger pickup that had entered the crossing at Sharon Road on Peachtree Parkway.

After the impact, Chapman’s truck spun counterclockwise, hit a sidewalk curb and flipped, according to the prosecution. Photos at the scene showed some snow still on the ground.

Hoover said during the Wednesday hearing that she wasn’t distracted or trying to make a quick left turn.

“I honestly just did not see Mr. Chapman,” she said, apologizing to his family.

Two of Chapman’s sons were in court for the hearing.

Robert Chapman said his father was an Army veteran and family man who had 10 children, 21 grandchildren, 22 great grandchildren and eight great-great grandchildren.

He was the retired owner of a tow truck company based in Ball Ground, which his family still runs.

“We do see accidents every day in our line of work,” Robert Chapman said. “We know accidents happen.”

The wreck was the third fatality on Forsyth roads in a four-day span following a snowstorm that crippled the area for nearly a week.

An accident on Jan. 14, 2011, killed 38-year-old Matthew Inman when the Pontiac Firebird in which he was a passenger crossed over Buford Dam Road into the path of an oncoming BMW.

Authorities have said ice on the road likely was a factor in the collision, which happened near the Ga. 400 bridge in Cumming.

The driver of the Firebird, then 21-year-old Jera Coen, pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide, failure to maintain lane and driving too fast for conditions in April.

Coen was sentenced to 12 months on probation, according to the court docket.

On Jan. 15, 2011, Mark Ruff, 42, was killed after his GMC pickup struck a tree on Doc Bramblett Road.