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More info on dead pedestrians; a third narrowly missed death

By Walter Geiger Two young men were killed one on his 25th birthday – early Friday morning when they were struck near the intersection of Grove St. and Veterans Pkwy. by a Barnesville police officer who had just terminated a chase of a suspicious vehicle. Justen Sullivan of 107 Parkview Dr. in Barnesville and Quenton Byrd of 1475 Hwy. 83 S. in Forsyth died at the scene. They were struck by a BPD police cruiser driven by officer Terry Belvin, 44. Belvin was treated for minor injuries at a local hospital and later released. Without emergency lights, he had just turned off his siren when he topped the hill at Grove Street and struck the two men who were in the left lane on the southbound side of the road. The police cruiser travelled into the northbound lane and continued for some distance before coming to rest in the median. Sullivan, the grandson of late, longtime BPD officer Alonzo Taylor, died on his 25th birthday. The impact was such that he and Byrd, 21, were knocked out of their clothes, according to coroner Jim Smith. Smith also confirmed that a woman with the two men had stopped on the side of the road to adjust a sandal or there could have been three victims dead. The bodies of Sullivan and Byrd were taken to the state crime lab for autopsy and toxicology testing. The autopsies confirmed both died of blunt force trauma to the head, body and extremities, Smith said. Toxicology results will take 60-75 days or more, the coroner added. Toxicology testing was also done on the officer involved. The victims were crossing the four lane in the worst possible place – just south of the crest of the Grove St. hill – in the dark. Funeral arrangements for Sullivan are being handled by Bentley and Son in Barnesville. Freeman Funeral Home of Forsyth is in charge of arrangements for Byrd. No obituary information was available at presstime Monday. The investigation has been turned over to the Georgia State Patrol’s specialized collision reconstruction team members of which were reenacting the crash the morning after the incident and again Monday morning. The investigators do have dash camera video from the patrol car to aid in the investigation.

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