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Man dies as a result of wheel chair accident

By Daniel Silliman

dsilliman@news-daily.com

An 80-year-old man died Monday night after being struck by a car while crossing the street in an electric wheel chair.

Charlie Dennis, of Ellenwood, was apparently headed toward home at about 5 p.m., when he drove his black, electric wheel chair across Webb Drive, near Grant Road, and was struck by a 2004 Dodge Ram.

The white Dodge was driven by Julian Norris Turnipseed, who lived in the area and knew Dennis since both men were in elementary school, Clayton County Police said.

According to the police, the accident occurred just south of a hill on Webb Road, and Turnipseed didn't see Dennis and his black wheelchair until after cresting the hill. He wasn't able to stop.

The truck skidded for more than nine feet, in Turnipseed's attempt to brake, before hitting the 80-year-old. After impact, accident investigators found, the Dodge skidded for about 16 feet.

Dennis was ejected from his wheel chair by the impact of the accident, and came to rest about 30 feet down the hill, police reports show.

The wheelchair rolled away, ending up almost 70 feet from the point of impact.

Dennis was conscious and alert when police and paramedics arrived. He couldn't say what happened, however, because he had previously suffered a stroke.

He was flown to Atlanta Medical Center, and reportedly suffered a broken pelvis. His blood pressure was dropping when he arrived, doctors reportedly told police.

During a CT scan at the hospital, Dennis had a heart attack and died a few minutes after 7 p.m.

Police do not plan to charge Turnipseed with anything related to the accident. He was, police said, emotionally upset by the accident, and told the officer at the scene, repeatedly, how he didn't have time to stop, after he came over the hill.