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Hurricane Sally’s remnants blamed for 3 metro Atlanta deaths

By Alexis Stevens, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution #atlanta-ga

One man was an aspiring attorney. Another was waiting on a bus on a rainy morning. The third was a woman walking her dog after the rain had stopped.

All three were killed as the remnants of Hurricane Sally brought heavy rains and winds to metro Atlanta this week. The storm that slammed the Gulf Coast was being blamed for destruction along hundreds of miles that killed people in Atlanta and the counties of Cobb and Gwinnett, including two victims who died when trees tumbled down.

According to the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency, the three deaths are the only ones in the state blamed on Sally.

Atlanta’s first storm-related death came Wednesday afternoon, when a towering tree split in two, landing on a home on Linda Way in Southwest Atlanta.

One person in the heavily damaged home was rescued by firefighters and another was able to escape. But rescuers couldn’t initially find Gerald Crawford, who recently celebrated his 30th birthday.

When firefighters eventually found Crawford, he was dead from his injuries. He had recently completed his law degree, according to his Facebook profile.

Jason Hudgins, president of the Westview community organization, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that the Crawford family had previously called the city of Atlanta to have the huge tree removed. Branches had fallen in recent weeks, including one that damaged a parked vehicle, he said.

The Water Oak could have been as old as 100 years, Hudgins said. The historic community has many older trees that pose a threat of toppling, he said.

“They’re getting near the end of their life cycle,” he said. “Whenever there’s a storm, we put people in our community on alert because we do have the problem.”

Hudgins and others in the community were helping the family through an online GoFundMe page.

“The Crawford Family is a legacy family of Westview, having lived in the community for over 40 years. In a few short moments the lives of those who survived changed forever,” the fundraising page states. “The home will be a complete loss with 90% being destroyed by the falling tree according to AFD.”

Early Thursday, a man at a Cobb County bus stop was killed when slick roads caused a driver to lose control of a 2020 Tesla, according to police.

The man who died was waiting at the bus shelter near the intersection of South Cobb Drive and Leader Road shortly before 5:30 a.m., in the path of the Tesla driven by Demarco Hill, 37, of Austell, according to Cobb police.

Hill lost control of the car, which began to spin. It left the roadway, traveled on the sidewalk, and struck the bus shelter, police said. The name of the man inside the shelter who died from his injuries has not yet been released, pending notification of family members.

The Tesla then rolled down a grass embankment before it stopped, according to police. Hill was taken to the hospital for treatment. His injuries were not believed to be life-threatening. The crash investigation continued Friday.

According to the Georgia State Patrol, no other weather-related deadly wrecks were reported in the metro area.

Later Thursday, a Gwinnett County woman was killed when she was hit by a tree, according to investigators.

Lynn Alice Trapp, 71, was walking her dog in her Snellville-area neighborhood when a tree fell across the roadway, pinning her underneath, the Fire Department said. Neighbors called 911 and police and firefighters arrived around 11:15 a.m. at Capot Court, the street where Trapp lived.

Trapp died at the scene. Her dog was also injured and taken for treatment. Gwinnett fire Capt. Tommy Rutledge said the dog was partially pinned by the tree.

The woman’s husband was not home at the time, but he was notified by Gwinnett police and came to the scene.

Funeral plans for those killed had not been finalized late Friday.