Longtime Emerson mayor Albert “Al” Pallone and his wife, Camillia, were killed in a four-vehicle crash late Saturday afternoon in Cherokee County, according to officials.
Cherokee sheriff’s deputies responded to the crash along Knox Bridge Highway, east of Fields Landing Drive and not far from Canton, around 4 p.m., sheriff’s office spokesman Capt. Jay Baker said.
A Chevrolet pickup truck was traveling east on the highway and lost control, crossing the center line and striking a Hyundai Santa Fe and a Mazda 3 that were traveling in the opposite direction, Baker said. The impact caused the Hyundai, driven by Al Pallone, to overturn and move to the eastbound lane, where it was struck by a GMC Savana van.
Al Pallone, 65, and Camillia, 69 and known as Millie, were both pronounced dead at the scene.
“Al and Millie have been a staple of the Emerson community for over 40 years,” City Manager Kevin McBurnett said in a statement, calling their deaths a “tremendous loss” for the community in Bartow County northwest of Atlanta.
The drivers of the Mazda and the GMC were taken to Wellstar Kennestone Hospital with injuries that were not life-threatening.
The driver of the Chevrolet, identified as 50-year-old William Bryan Abernathy of Calhoun, also was injured and was taken to an undisclosed hospital. He will face charges of DUI, reckless driving, first-degree vehicular homicide and serious injury by vehicle.
Al Pallone served the city of Emerson for 23 years, first as a councilman and then as mayor for the past 15 years, McBurnett said.
“Millie was always near providing him support, the framework to his strong leadership,” he said. “I would like to extend my condolences to the family and friends of Al and Millie. In addition to working together, Al and I had become good friends and I will miss him. To his family, thank you for sharing him with us. The city of Emerson is a better place because of him.”
No other details were released about the crash, which happened just over a mile east of another multivehicle crash that happened on Thanksgiving Day and killed 18-year-old Bryan College volleyball standout Alivia Mynes and her father, 52-year-old Chris Mynes. Her mother and teenage sister survived with minor injuries.
The Mynes were traveling in an SUV when they were hit by a pickup truck on Knox Bridge Highway near Scott Hudgens Drive. No charges were announced in that crash.
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