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No charges filed in PHCC death case
Tuesday, October 16, 2012
By PAUL COLLINS - Bulletin Staff Writer
No criminal charges will be brought in the April 17 traffic accident on the campus of Patrick Henry Community College that claimed the life a a PHCC employee.
Henry County Commonwealth’s Attorney Bob Bushnell said, “We are not going to place any charges” in the death of George Lee Marlowe. “The state police did an exhaustive investigation. It was just a very, very unfortunate situation that involved no chargeable conduct.”
In an interview in April, Trooper Noah Knight of the Virginia State Police called the accident “a perfect storm.”
Knight said that Marlowe was driving a 2001 or 2002 Toro Z master model lawn mower east on Route 371 (Patriot Avenue) about 8:25 a.m. April 17 on the way to do some mowing. The mower was traveling about 5-7 mph in a curve to the right at the top of a hillcrest when it was struck from behind by a 1988 Honda Accord driven by a PHCC student from Bassett, Knight said.
He said woods blocked the driver’s view of the curve until the mower was in front of her, and the “sun was so blinding ... right there you can’t see the road or nothing. She didn’t have a chance of seeing that lawn mower.”
“Everything lined up to be a bad accident,” the trooper added.
Knight estimated the Accord was not traveling over the posted 25 mph speed limit. The right front headlight of the Accord struck the left rear of the mower, and Marlowe was knocked off the mower, Knight said.
Marlowe, 75, of Martinsville, was pronounced dead at Memorial Hospital in Martinsville, according to Virginia State Police Sgt. Robert Carpentieri and a news release from the state police in April.
Bushnell said “our prayers, like a lot of other people’s prayers,” are with Marlowe’s family. “The victim was a wonderful person,” Bushnell said.
Marlowe had worked for the college for 12 years, PHCC Public Relations Director Kris Landrum said in April.