Emerson mayor and wife killed in Cherokee County DUI crash Saturday

According to the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office, Cherokee Sheriff’s deputies responded to a four-car accident on Knox Bridge Hwy. east of Fields Landing Rd. Saturday afternoon at approximately 4 pm. Preliminary indications are that a Chevrolet pickup truck traveling east on Knox Bridge Hwy. lost control and crossed the centerline striking a Hyundai Santa Fe traveling westbound. That collision caused the Hyundai to lose control, overturn and travel into the eastbound lane where it was struck by a GMC Savanna van traveling eastbound. The Chevrolet truck also struck a Mazda 3 traveling west.

The driver of the Hyundai, Albert Pallone, 65 of Emerson, died at the scene. His wife and passenger, Camillia Pallone, 69 of Emerson, also died at the scene.

The driver of the Mazda 3 and the driver of the GMC Savanna were transported to Wellstar Kennestone Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

The driver of the Chevrolet pickup, William Bryan Abernathy, 50 of Calhoun, was arrested and charged with DUI, Reckless Driving, First Degree Vehicular Homicide, and Serious Injury by Vehicle. Abernathy was also injured and is currently receiving treatment at an undisclosed local hospital.

Gov. Brian Kemp offered condolences when news of their deaths broke on Sunday. “Marty, the girls, and I were heartbroken to learn of the tragic death of Mayor Al Pallone and his wife, Camillia, last night. They will be deeply missed by their loved ones and the community that they served so well. Please join us in praying for their family during this time,” said Gov. Brian Kemp.

“It’s just tragic…just tragic,” Mayor Pro Tem Vincent Wiley said of the tragic crash. “They were like family to my family, personally, so it’s [really] hard right now.”  

Flags flew at half staff at the Emerson city government buildings Sunday where Pallone served his community for nearly 40 years. Pallone spent 23 years as a council member before he was elected mayor.

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