About this series
* As 2015 comes to a close, the Forsyth County News is taking a look back at the top 15 most viewed articles at forsythnews.com. Up today are stories 10 through 6, with the countdown to conclude Sunday. For stories 11-15, click here. And for more on each of the news events, as well as related content, explore our website.
FORSYTH COUNTY — Despite what some national pundits would have us believe, those in the news media can’t actually predict what’s going to happen. Like the rest of us, they likely hope for the best, but plan for the worst.
In that vein, 2015 was as unpredictable as most years. A quick scan of the headlines from the Forsyth County News’ most viewed stories offers evidence of that.
With few exceptions, the articles reflect breaking news posted online at forsythnews.com as it unfolded.
Join us now as take a look back at the 10th through sixth-most viewed stories in today’s edition. On Sunday, we’ll conclude the countdown by presenting the top five articles.
Dec. 12, 2015
A longtime member of the Forsyth County Republican Party was found dead Saturday inside her car that was submerged in Lake Lanier, officials said.
The cause of death for Reva Jennings, 77, of Cumming is likely drowning after units from the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office and Fire Department dive team recovered her vehicle from the water off Tidwell Park east of Cumming.
According to Forsyth County Fire Division Chief Jason Shivers, foul play is not suspected. Early evidence suggests Jennings may have driven into the water due to heavy fog in the area.
According to Sheriff’s Cpl. Robin Regan, the silver Toyota Camry was observed by a passer-by just before 11 a.m. and was “completely underwater at the end of the boat ramp.”
Officials believe the incident occurred after 1:30 a.m. Saturday, Regan said.
According to Jennings's social media accounts, she had attended a Forsyth County GOP Christmas party Friday night. Pilgrim Mill Road ends in the boat ramp to the lake at Tidwell Park.
According to her obituary, Jennings turned 77 on Dec. 8. She was a graduate of the University of North Carolina and a former Republican Woman of the Year.
She also was a “proud member of the Forsyth County chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy and former president of the Cumming Garden Club and a member of the 400 North Board of Realtors.”
Sept. 20, 2105
The woman killed Sunday morning in a two-vehicle, head-on collision on Ga. 400 near the North Old Atlanta Road overpass has been identified as 21-year-old Maria Gonzalez of Cumming.
According to the sheriff's office, the Forsyth County 911 center had been receiving reports of a vehicle traveling south in the northbound lanes.
Deputies were responding to the area between Exits 13 and 14 when the crash occurred about 4 a.m.
Robin Regan, a spokesman for the sheriff's office, said the Honda Accord that Gonzalez was driving struck a northbound Nisan Xterra driven by 27-year-old Ashley Held, also of Cumming, head on. The Xterra landed on its side, with Held trapped inside.
Firefighters had to remove her from the wreckage. She was reportedly in critical condition when flown by air ambulance to Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta.
Gonzalez was pronounced dead at the scene. Although the crash remains under investigation, alcohol is suspected to have been a factor, according to the sheriff's office.
April 11, 2015
Hall County Sheriff’s Office Capt. Sean McCusker confirmed Friday that a gunshot wound was found on Kelly Nash.
McCusker from the criminal investigations division said the sheriff’s office is still waiting on the medical examiner’s report regarding the 25-year-old Buford man’s cause of death.
McCusker would not comment further on the location of the gunshot wound.
Investigation Discovery, which is running a special on Nash at 9 p.m. Sunday, reported that it received an exclusive statement saying the cause of death was a gunshot wound and subsequent drowning.
Nash disappeared from his Jimmy Dodd Road home on Jan. 5. His girlfriend Jessica Sexton reported him missing, saying he had been playing video games a few hours before.
Nash’s cellphone, wallet and truck were still at the residence, while a 9mm handgun and clip were missing from the case.
The Nash family mounted an exhaustive search to find him for more than a month, at one point posting a $50,000 reward for information.
The 25-year-old’s body was found by a fisherman in Lake Lanier near Shadburn Ferry Road on Feb. 8.
March 5, 2015
An armed standoff ended peacefully Thursday afternoon in the area of Bethel Park near Lake Lanier with authorities taking a shotgun-wielding man into custody.
According to the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office, deputies arrested Kenneth Mercer, 50, who at one point was believed to have shot at them while wandering around the front yard of his home in the 8300 block of Swiss Air Road off Bethel Road.
Mercer has been charged with four counts of aggravated assault against an officer, with additional charges likely. Authorities have not released information about his possible motives or intentions.
The incident began about 1:30 p.m. when a report came in from Fire Station 9 on nearby Browns Bridge Road, where the man’s wife reportedly drove after growing concerned about his hostile behavior.
Deputies sent to investigate reported that the man attempted to engage them. Doug Rainwater, a spokesman for the sheriff’s office, described it as a “possible suicide-by-cop situation.”
Mercer ignored many commands from deputies to put his weapon down. No shots were exchanged, though Mercer had reportedly fired the weapon before deputies arrived.
A SWAT team member eventually got close enough to Mercer to Tase him in the front yard.
July 14, 2015
A three-vehicle wreck during the Tuesday evening commute sent three people to North Fulton Hospital with what authorities described as critical injuries and shut down Ronald Reagan Boulevard at Pendley Road for more than two hours.
The collision occurred about 5 p.m. Authorities said a Ford pickup traveling north on Ronald Reagan rear-ended a BMW at the traffic light at Pendley, pushing it into a Nissan passenger car, which also was stopped.
The Nissan traveled completely through the intersection, which is southeast of Cumming, but the impact left the pickup imbedded in the BMW.
Locked together, the pickup and BMW skidded into the crossing and slid sideways before stopping. All three occupants of the BMW were trapped inside it, authorities said.
After they were freed by firefighters using hydraulic rescue tools, all three were taken by ambulance to North Fulton Hospital.