published Tuesday, March 6th, 2012

Cohutta man dies in morning crash in Dalton, Georgia

A Cohutta, Ga., man was killed early Monday morning when he drove into the path of a vehicle driven by an on-duty Varnell, Ga., police officer.

Willard Leon Thurman, 70, a longtime contract newspaper carrier for the Dalton Daily Citizen, was killed in the wreck that occurred about 1:30 a.m., the newspaper reported.

Officer James Smith was treated at Hamilton Medical Center and released, Varnell police said.

Thurman, who was delivering papers in a Dodge Neon, was crossing Cleveland Highway toward the Orchard Way shopping area when his car was struck by Smith's northbound vehicle, the Georgia State Patrol said. Thurman was ejected, and his car burst into flames, the newspaper reported.

A collision reconstruction team will investigate, according to the state patrol.

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