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0 fatal accidents, serious injuries during this year’s Memorial Day celebration
Visitors flocked to Mary Alice Park on Lake Lanier on Sunday, May 24, 2020, to unofficially kick off summer during Memorial Day weekend. - photo by Ben Hendren

Public safety officials in Forsyth County enjoyed a fairly safe Memorial Day weekend this year with fewer accidents and injuries despite a rise in DUI arrests.

According to Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office jail records, police arrested 18 individuals under DUI charges between Friday, March 22, and Monday, March 25. In the same span of days in 2019, officials saw just 10 DUI arrests.

While there was a slight rise in DUI arrests from last year, there were fewer vehicle accidents over the weekend — dropping from 29 in 2019 to 16 in 2020.

Officials could not say for sure what caused the drop in vehicle accidents this year, but they are thankful that Forsyth County residents mostly remained safe this holiday.

Stacie Miller, spokeswoman for the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office, said that the office was not notified of anyone being seriously injured.

Forsyth County Fire Department spokesman Jason Shivers gave a similar sentiment, sharing that the weekend was unexpectedly calm.

“I was able to stay home and spend the weekend with my family,” Shivers said.

Mark McKinnon, a spokesman for the Georgia Department of Natural Resources Law Enforcement Division, said that activities on Lake Lanier this weekend were also calm apart from one notable boating accident which caused 13 injuries.

McKinnon said that sometime between 12 and 1 a.m. on Monday, those operating a 31-foot cabin cruiser called for a tow boat after they started to have some mechanical issues. As they were waiting, they were drifting in the middle of Shoal Creek when another boat rammed into the rear of the cruiser, ramping over its stern.

Authorities found 13 people injured after the incident, and nine ended up in the hospital. McKinnon said that none of the injuries were life-threatening.

The driver of the boat that crashed into the cruiser was arrested and is facing BUI charges.

According to a report, 11 others were charged with BUIs that weekend, one other individual was injured and authorities saw two other boating incidents.

McKinnon said that while authorities are still making sure to enforce social distancing guidelines, Lake Lanier along with many of Georgia’s lakes was busy as usual this past weekend.

“We really did not have any issues with regard to social distancing,” McKinnon said. “The officers encountered a few groups throughout the weekend who were in violation, but they were asked to disperse, and they complied. There was no one cited for violating the Executive Order.”

Overall, authorities agree that most of Forsyth County enjoyed a safe and responsible Memorial Day this year.