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$2.4M awarded in wrongful death
Bulloch jury finds for family of man killed in 2007 log truck accident
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    A Bulloch County jury awarded about $2.4 million Wednesday to the wife of a man killed in a log truck accident in Jan. 2007. Georgia State Patrol investigators determined the accident was caused when a Bulloch County Sheriff’s captain rear-ended another car, resulting in a four-car crash.
    Johnny Edward McNeely, 70, of Swainsboro, died several days after the accident on U.S. 301 North near the National Guard Armory. According to GSP reports,  McNeely was driving a log truck northbound around noon Jan. 10 when  when Bulloch County Sheriff’s Capt. Lee Harris, approaching from the opposite direction, struck a car driven by a Brooklet resident, Linda Kimble, 61.
    The impact sent Kimble’s Toyota Camry into McNeely’s path, and after his log truck struck her car, he crossed the oncoming lane of traffic, left the roadway and plowed through a block building, said Georgia State Patrol Sr. Trooper D. H. Averitt.
    After Harris struck Kimble’s car, he struck a Coca Cola van driven by Michael Bird, 41, Statesboro.
    Harris, Kimble and Bird were injured, but Harris and Kimble were both treated and released from East Georgia Regional Medical center. Bird was treated at the scene.
    However, McNeely was taken by Life Star helicopter to Memorial  Health University  Medical Center in Savannah, where he was admitted to an intensive care unit, Averitt said.
    McNeely remained in critical condition until his death several days afterward.
    A criminal trial is pending regarding the accident.
    Sherri Akins, employee with the Bulloch County Clerk of Courts office, said Friday Bulloch County Superior Court Judge William T. Woodrum issued a predirected verdict before the jury deliberated on the case, McNeely vs. Bulloch County Sheriff Lynn Anderson, awarding Molly McNeely $525,117 in medical costs as well as $7,000 in funeral expenses.
    Akins explained those costs were uncontested and both parties agreed on the amounts, “ and the jury did not have to consider” the amounts.
    After the three-day trial Jan. 26-28, the jury deliberated about three hours and returned a verdict around 4:15 p.m. awarding the McNeely family $737,500 for value of life; $150,000 for loss  of consortium; and $1 million for pain and suffering, she said. The  total amount awarded was $1, 419, 617.
    “It was a fair civil trial,” said Bulloch County Sheriff Lynn Anderson. “It was put into the hands of the citizens of Bulloch County and I believe in the system. It was a fair and impartial decision.”

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