Newsbank Archive
November 23, 2014
Cyclist killed when struck by car
by Wayne Knuckles
Mar 20, 2013 | 2 2 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A Cumming woman was killed when a vehicle crossed the double yellow line and struck head-on the bicycle she was riding Friday afternoon in north Lumpkin County.

Police say Michele Chesnut, 53, was riding her bicycle south on Highway 129 about two-thirds of a mile south of the entrance to DeSoto Falls Recreation Area around 4:30 p.m. when the accident occurred.

A Ford Explorer traveling north crossed the center line in a curve and struck Chesnut, police said. The vehicle then veered back across the highway, where is struck an embankment and overturned.

The driver of the vehicle, Lamrae Winkler, 40, of Sautee Nacoochee, was taken to Chestatee Regional hospital for observation following the accident, but police said she did not appear to suffer any serious injuries.

A Georgia State Patrol Specialized Collision Reconstruction Team is investigating the accident, a spokesman said.

No charges have been filed in connection with the incident pending the outcome of the investigation.

Traffic was backed up for more than two hours Friday afternoon due to the accident.

Though there are several incidents involving bicycles and motorized vehicles reported each year in Lumpkin County, this is believed to be the first such fatality in the last nine years or so, said Lt. Wesley Burnett of the Lumpkin County Sheriff’s office.

He said the most common complaints from drivers are about bicyclists riding abreast instead of single file and impeding the flow of traffic.

Bicyclists, in turn, complain of aggressive drivers.

“Both need to use caution,” Burnett said. “We need to share the roadway. Bicyclists have as much right to be on the roadway as vehicles.”

According to the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, the number of bicycle fatalities in Georgia increased from 13 in 2011 to 19 last year.

In 2009, Georgia ranked 8th among states with the most bicycle fatalities.

In 2011, the state legislature passed a new law requiring motor vehicles to stay at least three feet from a bicycle and bicyclists when passing. Those riding bicycles are required to maintain single file.

Chesnut obtained her pharmacy degree from Auburn University in 1982 and was an active member of the Cumming First United Methodist Church, focusing her efforts on the food pantry.

She worked at Walmart Pharmacy for over 23 years and had worked as a pharmacist at Goodson Drugs in Cumming.
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Janice in GA
March 21, 2013
Note that in Georgia law it is LEGAL for cyclists to ride TWO abreast on Georgia roads. More than two abreast is prohibited:

Section 40-6-294
Opus the Poet
March 21, 2013
It has been nearly a week since the death of the cyclist by a getting hit head-on in her own lane. This is so obviously a crime I'm still wondering why the driver was not arrested and charged with manslaughter at the scene, or as soon as she was released from the hospital. If the driver had hit someone driving a tractor or other farm implement head on and killed them she would have been charged, why not for killing a cyclist?
Obituaries (6-25-14 edition)
Jun 24, 2014 | 2811 views | 0 0 comments | 145 145 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Mrs. Ashley Ann Hester

Resident of Conyers

Mrs. Ashley Ann Hester, age 27 of Conyers, Ga., died Saturday, June 14, 2014.

She is survived by her husband, James Hester; parents, John and Vada Ward; brothers and sister-in-law, Chad and Shannon Buckhault, Matthew Ward; grandparents, Junior and Carol Key; nephews, Skylar and Preston; beloved pet, Lula, all of Conyers.

Ashley was employed by Kohl’s and was a member of Conyers Church of God. She graduated from Rockdale High School in 2007. Ashley enjoyed flowers and crafts but her special passion was home decor. She was also involved in breast cancer awareness programs and enjoyed the “Pink Pooch Parade” that is held in Conyers. She had a love and passion for all animals.

A Memorial Service was held Saturday, June 21, 2014 at Conyers Church of God with Pastor Mark Hargrove officiating.

In lieu of flowers contributions may be made to the Winship Cancer Institute or Life Long Animal Project

Scot Ward Funeral Services, 699 American Legion Road, Conyers, Ga. 30012, 770-483-7216.

Patsy Gail Miller

Resident of Dahlonega

Patsy Gail Miller, age 58, of Dahlonega, Ga., passed away Wednesday, June 18, 2014 at Northeast GA Medical Center.

She was a lifelong resident of Lumpkin County, and of the Baptist Faith, and had a heart of gold who loved to take care of people.

Patsy was the daughter of the late Cliff and Ethel Riddle Mincey, and was also preceded in death by her sister, Teresa Gibbs.

She is survived by her husband, David Miller; daughter and son-in-law, Amanda and Adam Mincey-Tolbert, Dahlonega, Ga.; son and daughter-in-law, Larry and Nicole Reece, Dawsonville, Ga.; sister and brother-in-law, Vicki and Roger Burns, Dahlonega, Ga.; brother and sister-in-law, John and Diane Mincey, Dahlonega, Ga.; brother, Billy Mincey, Cherokee, N.C.; grandchildren, Angelica and Austin Miller, Dakota and Ashton Tolbert, and Ansley and Ethan Reece; and a great grandchild and the love of her life, Alyssa Carney. Several nieces and nephews, many friends, and a number of other relatives also survive.

Funeral services for Patsy were held Saturday, June 21, 2014 at the Banister Funeral Home Chapel in Dahlonega, Ga. Rev. Lyman Caldwell officiated. Interment followed in the Dahlonega Memorial Park Cemetery.

Online condolences may be made at

Banister Funeral Home of Dahlonega, Ga. was in charge of the arrangements.

Ellen Gail McNees

Ellen Gail McNees, 68, died May 31, 2014 in Lexington, Ky., with her children by her side.

She was born in Bowden, Ga., to Arthur R. Halverson, Jr., and Polly (Spruill) Halverson.

She is survived by her son Edgar C. McNees III and his wife and their three children Alexsandria, Connor, and Duncan, all of Gainesville, Ga.; her daughter Adrienne L. McNees of Houston, Texas; her son John A. McNees of Houston, Texas; and her daughter C. Ruth McNees and her husband of Lexington, Ky.

After years of working as a teacher of history and social sciences, Gail earned an M.B.A. from Brenau University and worked again for the state of Ga., later retiring from the Division of Family and Children Services.

A memorial service will be held 2 p.m. at Dahlonega United Methodist Church, 107 Park Street, Dahlonega, GA 30533, on June 28. Visitation starts at 1pm.

Melvin Terry Snipes

Resident of Dahlonega

Melvin Terry Snipes of Dahlonega, Ga. passed away June 22, 2014 at the age of 61 after many battles with illness.

He was born in Lumpkin County on July 2, 1952. He moved away for better employment with Cummins South, where he retired after 26 years of service due to illness. He was well known for his knowledge of diesel engines and his love for “old” cars.

Melvin was preceded in death by his granddaughter, Savanah Snipes.

He is survived by his wife of 21 years, Reita Snipes; daughter, Tracy Snipes and fiancé, Michael Pegg; son, Kevin Snipes; three grandchildren, Kody, Kady, and Kaleb Snipes; sister, Frankie Jones; nephew, Jeff Jones; brother, “Tom” Keith; nieces, Katie Keith and Kristy Keith; brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Mickey and Shirley Calhoun; sister-in-law, Judy Lingerfelt, and Tom Christy; niece, Lori and Billy Brooksher; great-niece and nephew, Jesse and Will Brooksher. Several great-nieces and nephews, and a number of other relatives also survive. Melvin will be missed by all.

Funeral services for Melvin were held June 24, 2014 at Nimblewill Baptist Church in Lumpkin County. Rev. Allen Swafford, Rev. L.C. Bennett, and Rev. Roger Shadburn officiated. Interment followed in the Nimblewill Baptist Church Cemetery.

Online condolences may be made at

Banister Funeral Home of Dahlonega, Ga. was in charge of the arrangements.

Patsy “Pat” Thomas Zappi

Resident of Dahlonega

Patsy “Pat” Thomas Zappi, age 72, of Dahlonega, Ga. passed away Friday, June 20, 2014 following an extended illness.

Born in Youngstown, Ohio, Pat moved to Lumpkin County in 2006 from Miami, Fla. where he worked as a letter carrier for the United States Postal Service. He served his country in the United States Army, and was a member of St. Luke’s Catholic Church in Dahlonega, Ga..

He was the son of the late Samuel and Elizabeth Dicarlo Zappi, and was also preceded in death by his wife, Carol Johnson Zappi.

Mr. Zappi is survived by his daughter, Elizabeth Zappi, Dahlonega, Ga.; sister, Bay Zappi, Miami, Fla.; sister and brother-in-law, Mary and Raymond Covert, Palm Beach County, Fla.; and granddaughter, Victoria Zappi, Dahlonega, Ga.

A memorial service with full military honors will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday, July 3, 2014 at St. Luke’s Catholic Church in Dahlonega, Ga. Father Neil Dhabliwala will officiate.

A second memorial service will be held in August at Annunciation Catholic Church in Miami, Fla. For details on day and time, please email request to

Online condolences may be made at

Banister Funeral Home of Dahlonega, Ga. is in charge of the arrangements.

Death Notices

Bernice A. Coykendall, 89, passed away on June 14, 2014. McDonald & Son Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.

Jason Thomas Gault, 41, passed away on June 10, 2014. McDonald & Son Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.

Donald Francis Mears, 81, passed away on June 22, 2014. McDonald and son Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.

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