Albert “Al” Pallone, who had been mayor of Emerson for a long time, and his wife, Camillia, both died in a four-car crash in Cherokee County late Saturday afternoon.
Cherokee sheriff’s deputies went to the accident on Knox Bridge Highway, east of Fields Landing Drive, not far from Canton, around 4 p.m., said Capt. Jay Baker of the Sheriff’s office.
Baker said that a Chevrolet pickup truck going east on the highway lost control and crossed the center line, hitting a Hyundai Santa Fe and a Mazda 3 going the other way. The impact caused Al Pallone’s Hyundai to flip over and move into the eastbound lane, where a GMC Savana van hit it.
Al, who was 65, and Camillia, who was 69 and went by the name Millie, were both killed in the crash. The highway was closed for about four hours.
“Al and Millie have been a part of the Emerson community for over 40 years,” said City Manager Kevin McBurnett in a statement, calling their deaths a “tremendous loss” for the town in Bartow County, northwest of Atlanta.
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The drivers of the Mazda and GMC were taken to Wellstar Kennestone Hospital with injuries that were not life-threatening.
The driver of the Chevrolet, 50-year-old William Bryan Abernathy of Calhoun, was also hurt and taken to a hospital that has not yet been named. He will be charged with driving under the influence, driving recklessly, first-degree vehicular homicide, and serious injury by vehicle.
McBurnett said that Al Pallone has worked for the city of Emerson for 23 years, first as a councilman and then, for the past 15 years, as mayor.
“Millie was always close by to support him and give him the tools he needed to be a strong leader,” he said. “I want Al and Millie’s family and friends to know that I’m sorry for their loss. Al and I had become good friends in addition to working together, and I will miss him. Thank you to his family for letting us know about him. Because of him, the city of Emerson is a better place.”
No other information has been released about the crash, which happened just over a mile east of another crash that killed 18-year-old volleyball star at Bryan College Alivia Mynes, and her father, 52-year-old Chris Mynes, on Thanksgiving Day. Her mother and teenage sister were hurt, but they were able to live.
The Mynes was in an SUV when a pickup truck hit it near Scott Hudgens Drive on Knox Bridge Highway. In that crash, no one was charged.