By Patrick Yost editor
Blood tests for a Morgan County fire fighter killed in a two car crash in April have been returned by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, according to a supplemental accident return with the Georgia State Patrol.
According to the supplement report, blood alcohol tests for both the deceased Mark Keith Arnold, 26, a full–time Morgan County fire fighter and the driver of the second vehicle involved in the crash Jonathan Christopher Bone, 21, were both negative.
At the time of the crash, GSP spokesmen said “alcohol is believed to have been a factor” in the April 6 crash.
According to GSP reports, the incident was a head–on collision between a 1999 Toyota half ton pickup truck driven by Arnold and a 2007 Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck driven by Bone. Bone was traveling north on Pierce Dairy Road and Arnold was traveling south when the trucks collided at approximately 4:30 p.m.
Sgt. Mark Bentley, a member of the Georgia State Patrol Specialized Collission Reconstruction Team (SCRT) was called to the scene because of a “possible prosecutable fatality” and continues to investigate the incident. Bentley’s report has not been completed.
Bone suffered injuries in the incident as dis Ian Vincent O’Kelley, 18, Bostwick, a passenger in Arnold’s truck. Trevor Lee Martin, 19, Madison, a passenger in Bone’s truck was treated for injury at Morgan Memorial Hospital and released.
In a letter to the Morgan County Citizen, Morgan County Fire Chief Mark Melvin takes both the Morgan County Citizen and the Georgia State Patrol to task for both making statements regarding the incident and for reporting on the incident while it was under investigation.
“The initial story, that was published on April 10, 2014, quoted the Georgia State Patrol and insinuated false allegations regarding the… events that have since been proven untrue according to the release of the incident report from the Georgia State Patrol and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Crime Lab through an open records request,” Melvin’s letter reads in part.
“As a result of this article and the false accusations, those families involved incurred more hurt during this already sad time, thus affecting the entire fire brotherhood in this community. At the time of the publication’s release the accident was fresh and still under investigation.”
According to Sgt. Justin Howard, GSP, the incident remains under investigation by the GSP’s SCRT team. The investigation results, Howard said, will be released to Morgan County Assistant District Attorney Alison Burleson who will determine if criminal charges in the fatal crash will be pursued.