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Heat brings rash of wrecks
More drivers, more inidents as 'volume on the highway increases'
Jag vs Boat 1 es WEB
PHOTO/EMILY SAUNDERS With the wrecked Jag in the foreground, the driver of the Jag, who is visibly shaken, gets a hug from Brent Elford, who was driving an suv with the boat on the boat trailer. Elford was struck by the woman driving the Jag on Bald Ridge Marina Road shortly after noon causing his boat to roll off onto the side of the road.
Two people who may have never otherwise crossed paths stood in the middle of Bald Ridge Marina Road around lunchtime Thursday, and embraced.
Moments earlier, a blue 1998 Jaguar driven by Cynthia Sue Dempster of Gainesville collided with a boat and trailer being pulled by a 2007 GMC Yukon driven by Brent Wilson Elford of Suwanee.
The impact knocked the boat off its trailer, leaving the vessel overturned on the grassy roadside.
There will likely be insurance claims and accident reports, but in that moment, Dempster and Elford could count themselves lucky.
Elford, 38, who had his family in the truck with him, was glad the wreck wasn't worse. "I swerved enough that she didn't hit the truck and hit the back of the trailer," he said.
That wreck was just one among many unrelated incidents late last week on Forsyth County roads that kept public safety personnel busy.
Although there doesn't appear to be one particular issue to blame -- apart from the season -- Forsyth County Fire Capt. Jason Shivers said emergency responders do seem to get more calls in the summer.
"There are a lot of people on the roadway," he said.
"They're enjoying the summer. School's out so you've got a large number of both high school and college age students on the roads driving. Families are away from home enjoying vacation ... So certainly volume on the highway increases."
Shivers explained that the fire department responds to every incident with injuries, whether their severity is known or not.
Early Friday, a woman and a three-year-old were treated for minor injuries after the vehicle they were in struck a utility pole.
The incident occurred just before 6 a.m. on Hwy. 369 about a quarter of a mile east of Bannister Road. Hwy. 369 was shut down and reopened just before 2 p.m.
Capt. Frank Huggins of the Forsyth County Sheriff's Office said the driver, 34-year-old Shelby Katrina Gober, was charged with failure to maintain lane.
He said Gober was traveling east on Hwy. 369 in a 2005 Jeep Liberty Renegade and struck the pole, causing it to fall along with live wires.
Huggins said incidents such as wrecks with serious injuries require a lot of manpower "and also impedes the flow of traffic when you've got a highway like 369 that's shut down for hours while a utility pole is being reconnected."
"There's a combination of factors that cause accidents and you can't point to just one thing or another," Huggins said.
He said Gober told investigating deputies that the incident happened after she swerved to miss a dark pick up truck in her lane. He said she and the child were taken to Emory Johns Creek Hospital for treatment.
Shivers said before emergency responders arrived, a passerby got the woman and child out of the truck and moved them across the street from the wreck to get them away from the power lines.
Firefighters checked on them and moved them to a safer area before the lines fell to the ground.
"They recognized the potential immediately and reacted quickly to ensure the safety of the civilians, the good Samaritan and themselves," he said.
About 12 hours earlier, around 5:45 p.m., Thursday, authorities responded to an overturned Honda Accord near the intersection of Hwy. 53 and Pea Ridge Road.
Huggins said Friday that three children, ages 6, 10 and 11, were released after being treated at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Scottish Rite for injuries they sustained in the wreck.
Their father, Troy Dempsey of Cumming, who was driving, was not injured.
Sgt. Chris Shelton, a sheriff's office traffic specialist, said Dempsey was driving east on Hwy. 53 when he turned his head to break up an argument the children were having in the backseat.
He then overcorrected to keep the car in its proper lane and ran off the road to the bottom of a hill where it landed upside down.
Dempsey was not charged in the incident, which Shelton said appeared to be caused by "driver error."
Shivers explained that fire department personnel begin medical care immediately upon arrival at a wreck in order to stabilize those injured, if needed, while they wait for emergency medical services.
"The strain comes in when we have storms roll through and we have multiple motor vehicle accidents in conjunction with power lines down, structure fires and medical incidents," Shivers said.
"But responding to various motor vehicle accidents in the same time period is well within our ability to handle."