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Guilty plea in fatal scooter wreck
Buford man receives probation, apologizes
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Forsyth County News

A Buford man pleaded guilty Thursday to second-degree homicide by vehicle for a November 2011 wreck that claimed the life of a Dawsonville man on a scooter.

Stephen John Simone, 45, received 12 months on probation and a $1,000 fine in his negotiated plea, which also included one count of failure to yield right of way.

The sentence before Forsyth County State Court Judge Philip Smith also carries 200 hours of community service.

In addition, Simone must place a memorial newspaper advertisement on the two-year anniversary of the death of Carey James Abee and write a letter of apology to Abee’s family.

Abee, 52, died shortly after the wreck, which occurred about 8:40 a.m. Nov. 3, 2011, at Windermere Parkway and Hwy. 20.

Assistant Solicitor General Erin O’Mara said the collision happened when Simone turned his 2006 Izuzu box truck left onto Windermere and into the path of Abee, who was driving a 2011 moped east on Hwy. 20.

Simone lost control of the truck, which hit a median and then “overturned on the victim,” O’Mara said.

Abee was taken to Northside Hospital-Forsyth, where he later died due to the injuries suffered from being trapped under the box truck.

Simone said in court Thursday that he worked as a landscaper and was driving his employer’s truck to a job that day.

He saw the moped and believed the driver was in the lane to make a right onto Windermere as he made a left.

“Apparently, he wasn’t making a right turn,” Simone said. “He was going straight.”

Abee struck the side of Simone’s truck during the turn.

Simone apologized to the court and Abee’s family, stating it was an accident, and that he just meant “to go to work that day.”

“This tragedy has taken a huge emotional toll on me,” he said. “This will affect me for the rest of my life, and I will have to live with that.”

Both Simone’s wife and Abee’s daughter wiped away tears during the hearing.

Abee’s daughter declined the opportunity to address the court, but a victim’s witness representative said the family was agreeable to the plea deal.