Man may have died before crash on 85 south

Thu, 11/29/2007 - 4:26pm
By: The Citizen

A Senoia man was found dead behind the wheel of his car early Wednesday morning after it ran off Ga. Highway 85 and across the campus of Whitewater Middle School, police said.

Deputies believe the victim may have suffered some type of medical condition before the crash in part because the car was not significantly damaged, said Lt. Col. Wayne Hannah of the Fayette County Sheriff’s Department.

The victim was identified as James David Shelton, 38, of Senoia. Although the crash occurred just after 7:30 a.m. there were no close calls with other vehicles at the school, the accident report indicated.

A witness told deputies that Shelton was driving north on Hwy. 85 when his 2000 Plymouth Neon drifted off the road to the left and into a wooded area just south of the school campus. The car then went across Christopher Road, up a slight embankment, over the road of the school’s bus loop and into a field where it came to a stop in some thick brush, Hannah said.

The car had traveled over 1,000 feet off the road yet didn’t strike a tree in either of the two wooded areas it traveled through, Hannah said.

There were no signs that Shelton attempted to apply brakes at any time during the incident, further leading to the theory that Shelton may have suffered a medical ailment that impaired him before the crash, Hannah indicated.

The Georgia state crime lab has agreed to conduct an autopsy to determine Shelton’s exact cause of death, but a full report could take eight weeks or more, Hannah said.

The first deputies on the scene noticed that Shelton had turned both blue and red in color, Hannah noted.

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