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Holiday weekend starts with 7 deaths

POSTED: July 9, 2008 5:01 a.m.
The holiday weekend started off deadly across the state — with six people killed in traffic accidents and one person drowning — but was relatively quiet in Hall County.

As of 10:30 p.m., the Georgia State Patrol reported six people killed on the state’s roads since the holiday period began at 6 p.m. Thursday.

Also, a total of 727 crashes and 256 injuries were reported by the state patrol.

The state patrol post in Gainesville worked only two accidents with no injuries, though Hall County officials also worked a handful of minor wrecks.

With the exception of the drowning of a 17-year-old Duluth teen on Lake Lanier, the waterways across Georgia were relatively quiet, according to Jennifer Barnes, a spokeswoman with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.

A 16-year-old girl was taken to Northeast Georgia Medical Center after being hurt in a boating accident Friday on Lake Lanier, Barnes said.

Barnes had limited details about the accident, including the extent of the girl’s injuries and her condition. The wreck was one of four boating accidents reported Friday across the state, she said.

There were only 11 boating under the influence arrests reported across the state, with five of those being on Lake Lanier, Barnes said.

She had no explanation for the relatively quiet holiday, adding that a light number of incidents — and only one drowning — were reported last July Fourth.

The remainder of the holiday was quiet across Hall County, and the Hall County Sheriff’s Office received a high number of routine calls Friday, according to Maj. Jeff Strickland.

One man was stabbed in an altercation between two men at about 11 p.m. Friday night on Myrtle Street, Strickland said. The victim was taken to the Northeast Georgia Medical Center with minor injuries. The suspect, who left the scene on foot, is described as a Hispanic man in his 20s, wearing blue jeans and a black shirt. Strickland said Hall County’s criminal investigations division was investigating the incident.

Another call much earlier in the day was certainly out of the ordinary; Strickland confirmed that an intoxicated man was spotted walking around naked at Sunrise Cove Marina, but was unsure if he was taken into custody.

Despite the annual warnings from fire officials, fireworks are being blamed for a small woods fire Friday. A small group of adults who were playing with fireworks were responsible for a half-acre woods fire that broke out Friday in East Hall, according to Hall County Fire Maj. Scott Cagle.

Hall County Fire Department responded to the call at about 3:30 p.m. on Dennis Drive off U.S. 129, Cagle said. He said the group left the wooded area where they had been playing with fireworks, but returned later and noticed a fire had started in the area.

Cagle said it is likely the embers from the fireworks caught the grass and underbrush on fire.

"Of course, being as dry as it is, the grass fire turned into a woods fire," Cagle said.

He said firefighters were able to douse the flames within 15 minutes, and no people were injured or structures were damaged as a result of the fire.

Senior Content Editor Edie Rogers and Staff Writers Jessica Jordan and Melissa Weinman contributed to this report.



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