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ATV Accident Driver Faces Homicide Charge

September 24, 2003

AMBROSE, Ga. (AP) _ A woman whose car rammed into an all-terrain vehicle laden with children was charged with vehicular homicide and drunk driving as the community grieved for the five youngsters who died.

At the local middle school, the American flag flew at half-staff Tuesday and grief counselors talked to children all day. Mourners painted crosses and planted them on the side of the rural road where the accident took place Saturday night.

Authorities say Amanda Michelle Troupe, 29, crossed the center line about 9 p.m. Saturday before hitting the four-wheeler, designed to carry one person.

Troupe was also charged with reckless driving and driving on the wrong side of the road.

Jerome Francis worked with his father to plant five crosses side by side on Smith Cemetery Road.

``This just didn’t make any sense,″ he said. ``I had to do something, so I decided to make some crosses.″

Coranne Nelson, celebrating her 14th birthday, had been taking her five friends for a ride on the family ATV when the accident occurred.

Killed, along with Nelson, were: Dustin Varnedore, 11, and his 13-year-old sister, Kayla; Lindsay Joiner, 13; and Courtney Arsenault, 10.

Heather Bass, 13, was in critical condition Tuesday.

Troupe and her two passengers were not seriously injured. She was being held in the county jail. None of the children was wearing a helmet.

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On the Net:

ATV Safety Institute: http://www.atvsafety.org/index9.html

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