Bus driver charged in bicycle wreck that killed pastor

The driver of a charter bus that struck and killed a Paulding County pastor is facing criminal charges, police said Monday.

Andrew Pray, who would have turned 31 Monday, died Wednesday afternoon while biking northbound on U.S. 41 in Bartow County. A charter bus, with a driver and mechanic aboard, was also traveling northbound, according Stan Bradley, chief of the Emerson Police Department.

“As they were traveling north, the statements indicate that the bus driver did not see him,” Bradley told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “It was a very tragic accident, by no means malicious.”

The bus driver, George Carroll, 77, was charged with following too closely and second degree vehicular homicide, a misdemeanor, and booked into the Bartow County jail, Bradley said. Carroll was later released after posting bond.

Pray, the worship pastor at West Ridge Church in Dallas, was wearing a helmet and riding legally when he was struck around 12:30 p.m., according to investigators. State law allows cyclists to ride in the right side of the lane, which Pray was doing, Bradley said.

The bus, owned by a Bartow County company, is new and did not have passengers at the time it hit Pray, Bradley said. Carroll and a mechanic were aboard doing final checks of the bus before it goes into service, he said.

Pray was critically injured and died after being transported to WellStar Kennestone Hospital in Marietta. The married, father of three, led the music at his church, often singing alongside his wife, Courtney.

A memorial celebration will be held Tuesday for Pray at the East Paulding campus of West Ridge Church. Visitation will be from 11 a.m. to noon and the memorial celebration will be at 1 p.m.

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