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Calhoun Police remind motorists to drive safely, stay alert as school starts back

With school underway in Gordon County and beginning at Calhoun City today, the Calhoun Police Department warns drivers that as school buses start to roll again, to drive safety and be aware around bus stops.

"We would like to offer the following safety tips for motorists and students as Calhoun City and Gordon County Schools reconvene," said Calhoun Police Chief Tony Pyle.

Pyle states that the school bus "danger zone" around bus stops is a 12-foot area surrounding the school bus while it's stopped; this is the area where the bus driver may not be able to see students, or where other cars might be passing while students are getting on or off the bus. Pyle says to make sure students are up and ready in plenty of time to make the bus stop; to safety wait for the bu once at the stop by staying on your side of the road until the bus comes to a complete stop and if you miss the bus, do not try to chase it. Pyle also suggests to stay away from the dangerous areas around the buses right and left front tires, the right rear tires and the front door and to always be aware of other vehicles and drivers who might be passing a stopped bus when they are not supposed to pass.

Once on the bus, Pyle says students should stay seated at all times, facing the front of the bus and to stay quiet around railroad crossings so the bus driver can hear an approaching train.

When exiting the bus in the afternoons, students should stay seated until the bus is completely stopped and to be aware of your surroundings as you are exiting the bus.

For drivers sharing the road with buses, Pyle says drivers should remember to stop and yield to pedestrians crossing the street, to always stop at a crossing guard and to never pass a vehicle that is stopped for pedestrians. It is illegal in all 50 states to pass a school bus that's stopped to load or unload students; stop far enough away from the bus to give students enough space to enter and exit. Drivers should also stay alert as kids forget about the dangers of crossing the street, so it's important for drivers to maintain focus.

The Calhoun Police Department wishes all students a great year.


Three sentenced in 2017 home invasion

Three teens pleaded guilty last week on charges stemming from a 2017 home invasion.

On Thursday, Aug. 2, 2018, Alex Alcantar, 18, and Dustin Freeman, 18, both pleaded guilty to felony counts of Home Invasion, First Degree Burglary and Aggravated Assault. Both pleaded guilty to Conspiracy to Commit Burglary and Wearing a Mask to Conceal Identity. Alcantar also pleaded guilty to Cruelty to Animals.

Both were sentenced to a total of 20 years in prison with 10 to be served.

A third suspect, 18-year-old Daniel Isai Munguia, pleaded guilty to Conspiracy to Commit Burglary for having planned the home invasion. He was sentenced to 10 years with 90 days to serve in jail, which has already been completed.

Deputy sheriff's with the Gordon County Sheriff's Office were called to a private residence in the Pine Chapel community shortly after 8 p.m. on Wednesday, May 17, 2017 in response to a reported home invasion.

When deputies arrived, they found Alcantar, described as "incapacitated," inside the home. Freeman had been chased into nearby woods by a group of armed neighbors.

Officers said that the two burst into the home while a husband and his wife were seated at a table having dinner. Both suspects wore masks and gloves and were armed with bricks and baseball bats.

The male occupant of the home was struck by a brick but was able to wrestle the bat away from Alcantar, using the bat on Alcantar to defend himself and his wife.

Freeman fled on foot but was caught by the neighbors and held for officers.

Detectives recovered masks, gloves, baseball bats, tape, as well as other items of physical evidence at the scene and also determined that the defendants took measures to keep from leaving trace evidence at the scene.

The Cruelty to Animals charge stemmed from Alcantar striking the victims' dog with a baseball bat during the struggle as the animal attempted to protect its owners.

Alcantar and Freeman were taken into custody late last week and remain in Gordon County Jail.


Back to School

Two seriously injured in weekend motorcycle accident

One was airlifted and another sent for treatment by ground in a Saturday afternoon motorcycle accident on Highway 136 at I-75 Resaca Exit 320.

According to the Georgia State Patrol, a 2016 Harley Davidson was traveling east on Highway 136 in the right lane when a 2015 Ford Focus, that had been traveling north and left I-75 at Exit 320, attempted to turn left across Hwy. 136 to head west, pulling out in front of the motorcycle. The motorcycle struck the Ford and the rider and a passenger were ejected from the motorcycle over the top of the Ford, coming to a rest in the roadway just east of the impact.

Hannah Garrett, 19, of Calhoun, who was the passenger on the motorcycle, was transported by LifeForce to Erlanger Medical Center in Chattanooga with serious injuries.

Mackenzie Kilpatrick, 23, also of Calhoun and the driver of the motorcycle, was transported by ground to Hamilton Medical Center in Dalton with suspected serious injuries.

The driver of the Ford, 23-year-old Briana Putman of Denver, Colo., along with three passengers in her vehicle, did not sustain injuries in the accident.

Putman was charged with Failure to Yield After Stopping at a Stop Sign.