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Mayor of north Georgia city, his wife, killed in crash involving alleged DUI driver, sheriff says

The four-car accident on Knox Bridge Highway just east of Field Landing Road around 4 p.m.

EMERSON, Ga. — The City of Emerson is mourning the loss of their long-time mayor and his wife after an alleged DUI driver caused a multi-vehicle accident Saturday afternoon. 

Cherokee County Sheriff's Office deputies responded to a four-car accident on Knox Bridge Highway just east of Field Landing Road around 4 p.m.

The sheriff's office said the driver of a Chevrolet pickup truck, identified 50-year-old William Bryan Abernathy, of Calhoun, lost control and crossed the center line, striking a Hyundai Santa Fe traveling in the opposite direction. 

The driver of the Hyundai, the 65-year-old mayor, Albert Pallone, and his wife, Camillia Pallone, 69, died at the scene.

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp said in a statement that his family is "heartbroken."

"They will be deeply missed by their loved ones and the community that they served so well," he wrote

Officials said when Pallone's vehicle was struck, it lost control, overturned and was struck by a GMC. The Chevrolet also struck a Mazda 3. 

"Al and Millie have been a staple of the Emerson community for over 40 years," the city manager Kevin McBurnett said in a statement on social media. "Al was a proven leader serving the citizens of Emerson as a city councilman for 23 years with the last 15 years as Mayor. Millie was always near providing him support, the framework to his strong leadership."

Abernathy was 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.

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

Emerson is located in Bartow County, about 40 miles northwest of Atlanta. 

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