School board member accused of ramming teen over parking space resigns

A Bartow County school board member resigned Thursday after coming under fire for allegedly ramming a teenager with her SUV during a dispute over a parking space.

Angela Cornett, 41, was arrested a week ago and charged with reckless conduct. Cornett had steadfastly said she didn’t intentionally ram the teen outside the Cartersville Wal-Mart, but the incident — which has attracted national attention and local outrage — was caught on the store’s survellience video.

The video, released by the Bartow County Sheriff’s Office on Wednesday, shows 17-year-old Emily Gulledge standing in a parking space as a white Lexus SUV approaches.

Gulledge said Cornett told her to move. “I didn’t think she was going to hit me,” she told “The Today Show on Thursday.” “I politely told her that I was holding the space. She tells me to move again and rams me.”

Photos released by the sheriff’s office show black grime on the girl’s pants. She was not hurt.

Cornett “just felt it was in the best interest of her, her family and the school district” to resign, effective immediately, her attorney John T. Mroczko said. Cornett had no other comment, Mroczko said.

The incident put tiny Bartow County in the national spotlight.

Other than “The Today Show,” the story aired on “Good Morning America” and a number of other media outlets. “I was the child in this incident,” said Gulledge, a senior at Adairsville High School, “but she acted like a child.”

Jessica Loeding, managing editor at the Daily Tribune News in Cartersville, said her paper had received “overwhelming blowback” from readers — from letters to the editor and through social media — about the incident. “It’s a very big deal here in Bartow County,” she said.

Cornett had already been under fire for comments she made during a school board meeting in September in which she named a former school system employee and spoke disparagingly about the person in the public meeting.