Ga. School Board Member Charged With Hitting Teen in Parking Lot Dispute

Jan 3, 2013 1:08pm

A dispute over a parking space in the lot of a Georgia Walmart resulted in the arrest of a school board member charged with hitting a 17-year-old girl with her car.

Angie Cornett, the vice chair of the Bartow County School Board, was charged Friday with reckless conduct after police say she swiped Emily Gulledge, a senior at a local high school, with her Lexus SUV, leaving a path of tire marks on the teen’s jeans.

Today, Cornett, two years into a four-year term on the Board, resigned from her elected post.

“For personal and family reasons, Angie Cornett submitted her resignation from her position as member of the School Board of Bartow County to Governor Nathan Deal and to Superintendent John Harper,” her attorney, John Mroczko, said in a statement to ABCNews.com.  “Mrs. Cornett believed it to be an honor to serve on the Board and represent the people of District Three of Bartow County, however, she felt it was time that she step aside.”

In newly released surveillance video that police say led to Cornett’s arrest, the 41-year-old’s white SUV can be seen lurching into the contested parking spot and then striking Gulledge on the leg.  Cornett, a married mother of two, then backs her car out of the parking spot and pulls into another.

Gulledge, who could not be reached today for comment, told police she was holding the parking space for a friend.  She called 911 after she was allegedly struck and told authorities she and Cornett “had some words” over the parking spot before Cornett pulled her vehicle forward.

The responding officer went inside the Cartersville, Ga., Walmart store to review the surveillance video before going back outside to arrest Cornett.

“From the angle that the vehicle was turning the tire would have been sticking out towards her right leg so we are surmising that the tire scuffed down her leg as the vehicle was turning into the spot,” Bartow County Sheriff’s Sgt. Jonathan Rogers told ABCNews.com.

“The deputy was able to measure the [tire] marks and really dark tire scruff marks start about the pocket area of the victim’s right leg and get a little lighter and go all the way down the victim’s right pant leg,” he said.  “It gets lighter and narrow as it goes down.”

Cornett, a full-time court reporter, did not respond to a request for comment today.  Her attorney says it was Gulledge who walked into the path of his client’s SUV.

“She [Cornett] was pulling into the parking space as shown in the video and the young lady was standing in front of the cart return and the young lady proceeded to move over and try to block the space as my client was pulling into the parking space,”  Mroczko  told ABCNews.com.  “The young lady certainly walked into my client’s car.”

“If she had been run over then you would have photos of her being run over, but that’s not the case,” he said.  “There are no marks on her feet.  She’s a small young lady and if she had been struck as they say she was she certainly would have flown across the video.  None of that happens.”

Gulledge complained of back pain and was treated by EMS officials on the scene but declined further care, according to Sgt. Rogers.

Cornett, who has no prior record, posted $1,000 bond.  Her court date is still to be determined.

Her charge, a misdemeanor, could carry up to 12 months in prison, according to Sgt. Rogers.

 

 

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