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Bus Driver, 77, Charged in Fatal Bartow Bicycle Crash

George Carroll of Acworth, who has been driving buses for 12 years, faces two misdemeanor charges in connection with the crash on Highway 41 in Bartow County.

Emerson police today lodged charges against the man who was driving the charter bus that struck and killed West Ridge Church worship pastor Andrew Pray in Bartow County a day before Thanksgiving.

George Carroll, 77, of Acworth, was arrested and faces two misdemeanor charges—second-degree vehicular homicide and following too closely, Police Chief Stan Bradley told Cartersville Patch.

On his Facebook page, Pray, an Arkansas native, described himself as an avid cyclist, as well as “[an] aspiring cook, sports fan, cereal lover, and saved by the grace of God.”

Bradley said Pray's bicycle and the charter bus—which was new and being tested by Carroll and a mechanic—were approaching Red Top Mountain Road on Highway 41 northbound when "for some reason" the bus driver didn't see Pray or his bicycle.

Pray was cycling on the right side of the road "close" to the fog line, but in the lane of traffic, which was legally proper, according to Bradley.

"It's a tragic loss of life," Bradley added. "Unfortunately, Mr. Pray lost his life due to an error in judgement on the part of the bus driver."

Carroll, who was driving about the 55 mph speed limit, is retired and has been a bus driver for 12 years, Bradley said. He and the mechanic were conducting test runs of the new charter bus "up and down 41," Bradley said. No other passengers were on the bus.

About 30 minutes after his 1 p.m. arrest, Carroll, whose last known employer is listed as Leisure Time on jail booking records, was released on a $5,200 bond.

Church Announces Arrangements, Help for Family

Members of Dallas-based West Ridge Church, which has a Cartersville location,  have established a fund to assist the Pray family with funeral costs and other needs. Those interested in donating can donate online at this link or write a check to West Ridge Church and put “Pray Family” in the memo line.

The church has also announced arrangements in Pray’s honor. Visitation will be held at West Ridge Church’s East Paulding campus Tuesday from 11 a.m. to noon, with a memorial celebration set for 1 p.m.

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Btrue November 27, 2012 at 12:38 AM
Don't forget to pray for Mr. Carroll too. The Pray family loss is tragic and they will not be forgotten.... But often the other people involved in accidents are demonized or ignored completely and that isn't what we are called to do. This was an accident and Mr. Carroll is no doubt struggling with a lot of guilt.... Lets not forget to love on him and his family, too.
ASA November 27, 2012 at 02:20 AM
I'm sure Mr. Carroll is devastated about what happened. I will be praying for him and his family as well. It was simply an accident and we will never know nor understand why GOD wanted Andrew Pray home. Prayers and love for all that were involved.
Paula November 27, 2012 at 01:39 PM
My prayers are for both families. I pray that the Pray family will be granted strength to get through their difficult time. I pray that Mr. Carroll and his family will be granted patience and understanding from the judicial system. Common sense needs to prevail in some cases of a "true accident". It was never an intent on his part for this to happen - just God's will that day.
steve November 27, 2012 at 02:49 PM
Mr. Carrol is upset im sure but a 77 yr old man may not be the idea bus driver. Once again the issue of older aged drivers is and should come into question especially when it comes to driving thise huge charter buses. Im a driver of huge buses and i can tell you this you have to have a good eye qnd better reflexes.
Dirk Whittemore November 27, 2012 at 03:50 PM
The police have said his age was not a factor and is was purely an accident. There are many 70+ year olds driving full size tractor trailers and have no problem meeting the physical requirements of maintaining their CDL's. Accidents involving buses and semi trucks are far less than other types of vehicles. There are far more accidents caused by much younger drivers driving well in excess of the posted speed limits making them less than ideal drives which is an issue that never comes into question.
d1 November 27, 2012 at 05:38 PM
I am sorry for the loss, but I would question more why you would ride a bike on 41.
Hb November 27, 2012 at 07:50 PM
Just because some one is older in age doesn't mean they don't know how to drive. As the article said, Mr. Carroll had been driving charter busses for 12 years, and I'm sure he knows how to operate one properly.
NS November 27, 2012 at 09:45 PM
Yes, why would someone be on 41 on a bike. It was probably impossible for Mr. Carroll to see him. Prayers for the family of the cyclist and Mr. Carroll. I just wish this could have been avoided and the cyclist just stayed home with his family instead of doing something so dangerous. :(
Pam November 29, 2012 at 05:05 AM
My prayers go out to both of these families. My condolences goes out to the Pray family and I pray George will somehow find peace and comfort within himself. I know George personally, he is a great man and outstanding citizen; as a matter of fact he took me on my first trial run when I started driving buses. This is a freak accident and I pray that everyone involved; including the courts see it as just that. I pray the Pray family will find forgiveness in their hearts and I pray that George will someday be able to move forward. I'm so sorry this happened!!l

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