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News Elderly woman dies in car crash

No charges will be filed in accident

An elderly woman was killed last Friday in a traffic accident on U.S. 441 in Franklin.

According to Franklin Police Department officials, Helen Chapman Hill, 89, was exiting the parking lot of the Macon County Community Facilities Building at approximately 4 p.m. after playing a winning game of bridge there for several hours.

Hill collided with another vehicle as she pulled out onto the Georgia Road, according to authorities.

“She was going to her son’s house for dinner,” said FPD officer Laurie Beegle, who was one of the first officers on scene at the time. “She failed to see, before making the turn, that the lane was clear.”

Beegle explained that Hill crossed the passing lane and was heading south when an oncoming driver, William Anthony Norton, 37, struck the driver’s side of her 1999 Mazda Protege as he was traveling north at approximately 50 miles per hour.

The two vehicles reportedly traveled an estimated 24 feet after impact, ending up in the southbound lane of U.S. 441, on the curb of the Whistle Stop Mall property.

Hill was airlifted to Mission Memorial Hospital in Asheville after sustaining fractures to the left leg and hips, along with severe head trauma and a laceration to the face. She passed away shortly after arriving at the hospital. Norton reportedly told first responders that he had incurred injuries when his air bags deployed.

“According to the medical examiner, she died naturally of a major stroke,” Beegle explained of Hill. “We are unsure when the stroke occurred – whether it was before or after the accident.”

Norton will not be charged in the accident, Beegle said. “He wasn’t speeding. It’s hard to see traffic at that intersection. She was just in the wrong place at the wrong time,” she continued.

Beegle urges the community to be safe at that intersection and to slow down, noting that the FPD has been posted there for the Fourth of July over the years, due to the traffic congestion and pedestrians crossing at that point. “Hopefully they will put a light there,” she said.


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