Emerson police today lodged charges against the man who was driving the charter bus that struck and killed West Ridge Church worship pastor Andrew Pray in Bartow County a day before Thanksgiving.
George Carroll, 77, of Acworth, was arrested and faces two misdemeanor charges—second-degree vehicular homicide and following too closely, Police Chief Stan Bradley told Cartersville Patch.
On his Facebook page, Pray, an Arkansas native, described himself as an avid cyclist, as well as “[an] aspiring cook, sports fan, cereal lover, and saved by the grace of God.”
Bradley said Pray's bicycle and the charter bus—which was new and being tested by Carroll and a mechanic—were approaching Red Top Mountain Road on Highway 41 northbound when "for some reason" the bus driver didn't see Pray or his bicycle.
Pray was cycling on the right side of the road "close" to the fog line, but in the lane of traffic, which was legally proper, according to Bradley.
"It's a tragic loss of life," Bradley added. "Unfortunately, Mr. Pray lost his life due to an error in judgement on the part of the bus driver."
Carroll, who was driving about the 55 mph speed limit, is retired and has been a bus driver for 12 years, Bradley said. He and the mechanic were conducting test runs of the new charter bus "up and down 41," Bradley said. No other passengers were on the bus.
About 30 minutes after his 1 p.m. arrest, Carroll, whose last known employer is listed as Leisure Time on jail booking records, was released on a $5,200 bond.
Church Announces Arrangements, Help for Family
Members of Dallas-based West Ridge Church, which has a Cartersville location, have established a fund to assist the Pray family with funeral costs and other needs. Those interested in donating can donate online at this link or write a check to West Ridge Church and put “Pray Family” in the memo line.
The church has also announced arrangements in Pray’s honor. Visitation will be held at West Ridge Church’s East Paulding campus Tuesday from 11 a.m. to noon, with a memorial celebration set for 1 p.m.