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GSP retracts crash findings: Motorcycle rider not at fault


        Craig Wooten, center, after returning home from Grady Memorial Hospital where his leg was amputated. 


       The Georgia State Patrol has retracted their original incident report that found a motorcycle driver at fault for a crash that caused him to lose a leg. 

Craig Wooten, 68, was travelling by motorcycle along Pea Ridge Road on June 25th when he was struck by a Ford F-150 driven by Thomas Lynn Marlow, 24, Jasper. 

According to the original GSP report, Wooten was at fault for the crash as he “failed to maintain his lane and struck the left side [of the truck],” but GSP Post Commander Tim Nichols said a second review of the incident found Wooten not at fault. 

“I reviewed the trooper’s original photos and had some questions,” said Nichols, who personally returned to the scene of the accident and examined the crashed truck and motorcycle that were stored at another location.

Wooten’s family had also approached the GSP over what they felt were inaccurate findings in the original report. 

Nichols noted there were tire markings on the scene that were not part of the accident, but were included in consideration of the first crash investigation.

“Along with the help of the (Specialized Collision Reconstruction Team) we determined the driver of the motorcycle, Mr. Wooten, was not at fault in this accident,” he said. “SCRT was involved in the first investigation but to a lesser degree because it was a non-fatal crash.” 

According to initial reports, multiple witnesses saw three men, including Marlow, the driver of the truck, abandon the scene, leaving Wooten on the side of the road. Witnesses said the men left in a different green truck. 

Before first responders arrived, Wooten was assisted by nearby residents, one of whom was a retired nurse. The nurse applied a tourniquet to Wooten’s mangled leg, which doctors told family members saved his life. His leg was later amputated above the knee. 

The Wooten family said they are grateful to GSP for reevaluating their findings. 

“We are thankful that they followed through with making sure that the man involved was charged appropriately for his heinous and deliberate actions,” said daughter Kim Fitts.

Wooten is home now being cared for by family. He had a second surgery on Monday, July 17th due to an infection. 

“We have made four trips to doctors’ offices trying to get everything that goes along with an amputation started, not counting his surgery yesterday and the almost two weeks that he spent in Grady,” Fitts said. “To say this is life-changing for our whole family is an extreme understatement. We are so thankful for all of the support that we as a family have received from the community. We really have no words.”

A $100,000 bond was set for Marlow in Pickens County Magistrate Court. He was initially charged with two counts of leaving the scene of an accident, one of which was a felony charge. He was also charged with no insurance, not wearing a seat belt, knowingly driving with a suspended registration and received two traffic citations. After GSP found Marlow to be at fault for the accident, he received additional charges.

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